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Clara Castelnuovo-Tedesco 

Interviewed by Rebecca Andrade 

Completed under the auspices 

of the 

Oral History Program 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Copyright (c) 19 82 
The Regents of the University of California 

This manuscript is hereby made available for research 
purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
including the right to publication, are reserved to the 
University Library of the University of California at 
Los Angeles. No part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication without the written permission of the 
University Librarian of the University of California 
at Los Angeles. 




Interview History vm 

TAPE NUMBER: I, Side One (January 18, 1981) 1 

Alfredo Forti's woolen mills — Siblings — Studying 
many languages — The family moves from Prato 
to Florence, Italy — The geographic origins 
of the Jews of Italy — The role of Jewish 
traditions in the family — World War I hospital 
work — Musical education — Private lessons in 
literature — Meeting Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco 
socially — Mario's family background — Looking 
at childhood photographs — Letter from a 
colleague of Mario — Two singers: Memmi 
Strozzi and Madeleine Grey. 

TAPE NUMBER: I, Side Two (January 18, 1981) 20 

Derivation of the name Castelnuovo-Tedesco — 
Family photos — Mario's early inclination 
toward music — Studying in Florence with 
Ildebrando Pizzetti — Marriage — Singing 
Mario's songs and those of Debussy. 

TAPE NUMBER: II, Side One (April 25, 1981) 31 

Florence: the music and fine arts 
community — Friendships with Igor 
Stravinsky, Jascha Heifetz, and Arturo 
Toscanini — Mario's working habits — 
Early married life — Birth of sons, 
Pietro and Lorenzo — Their upbringing, 
religious training, and musical 
education — A granddaughter studies piano. 

TAPE NUMBER: II, Side Two (May 9, 1981) 

The coming of fascism — Emigration from 
Italy with the help of Toscanini, 
Heifetz, and Gregor Piatigorsky — 
Performance of Mario's music prohibited 
by the Fascists — The Jews hidden in 
convents by anti-Fascist priests — The 
situation rapidly deteriorates for 
Italian Jews after the Rome-Berlin 



Axis Pact — Fate of the family — 
Concertizing in America as a livelihood 
— Amelia Rosselli's tragic life — 
Settling in Larchmont, New York — 
Impressions of the voyage to 
America — Aldo Bruzzichelli. 

TAPE NUMBER: III, Side One (June 13, 1981) 67 

Initial impressions of New York — A 
safe life for emigres in New York— 
Moving to California — Music for the 
movies — Teaching, working freelance 
for the studios, and composing for 
himself--Well-known and not so 
well-known pupils — Relative lack of 
classical music performances in Los 
Angeles—American reception of Mario's 
music — The decline of vocal chamber music 
— Friends among the Italian anti-Fascists . 

TAPE NUMBER: III, Side Two (June 20, 1981) 86 

Pizzetti's influence on Mario — The relation 
of Mario's music to that of seminal, early 
twentieth-century composers—Music for 
voice and overtures for Shakespeare's plays 
--Mario's development in the classical musical 
tradition — An excerpt from Mario's 
autobiography-- "Modern life spoils things" 
--Becoming American citizens — The Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco Society— Current performances — 
Requests for manuscripts. 

Index 109 



One of the most treasured experiences of my life- 
time has been the privilege of knowing and working with 
the noted Italian-American composer Mario Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco. Not only was he one of the gentlest, kindest, 
and most generous persons I have ever known he was also the 
most brilliant and learned. Easily conversant in more than 
a half dozen languages, he was intimately acquainted 
with all the major works of literature in their original 
languages: Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, 
English, and German. He knew the masterpieces of Western 
art — oils, frescos, etchings, mosaics, sculpture, and drawings 
— and could describe in detail the galleries, churches, 
and museums in which they could be found. And, of course, 
his knowledge of music was profound. He knew it as a 
practicing musician, not as a musicologist, and he added 
some masterpieces of his own to its literature. What a 
joy, what a delight, what an experience to be able to 
discuss with the maestro these great artistic monuments of 
Western civilization! 

That Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was a well-organized and 
highly methodical person, no one who knew him would deny. 
The maestro always was well aware before he set pen to paper 
the form and structure that a new work would take; clear in 
his mind were the melodic lines, the harmonies, and little 


canons that could be developed out of the thematic 
material (for almost all works contain at least one canonical 
section.) Even the orchestral and vocal timbres were 
worked out in thought before he started the mechanical 
process of writing out the music on paper. Frequently 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco set time frames for the progress of 
larger works, establishing (and keeping!) dates by which 
certain acts or movements would be completed. What an 
inspiration to watch him working away directly with India 
ink on ozlid master papers at his composer's table (an old 
drafting table tilted at a convenient angle) placed squarely 
in front of the large, arched window in the living room of 
his single-storied, Spanish-style home in Beverly Hills. 

That Castelnuovo-Tedesco ' s music is not performed more 
frequently today is one of the tragedies of the age, for 
his works are filled with excitement, originality, and beauty: 
melodies that soar and sing, rhythms that are energetic and 
varied, harmonies that are at once rich and modern. "I deeply 
admire the talent of that noble composer," Andres Segovia once 
wrote me about Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, "[a composer] who, 
in a different epoque , not so convulsed as this, should have 
been well known throughout the musical world." 

It is thus an honor for me to pen these few humble lines 
of introduction to the all-important oral biography of my 
most treasured friend, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. 

— Nick Rossi, August 1982 


INTERVIEWER: Rebecca Andrade, assistant editor, Oral 
History Program, UCLA. 


Place : Castelnuovo-Tedesco ' s Beverly Hills, 
California, home. 

Dates : January 18, April 25, May 9, June 13 and 
20, 1981. 

Time of day, length of sessions, and total number 
of recording hours : These midday sessions lasted 
from thirty minutes to one hour. A total of three 
and a half hours of conversation was recorded. 

Persons present during interview : Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco and Andrade. Lorenzo Castelnuovo-Tedesco, 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco 's younger son, was present during 
some of the early sessions. 


The purpose of this oral history was to gather material 
on the lives of Clara Castelnuovo-Tedesco and her late 
husband, the composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. By 
way of preparation the interviewer chatted with 
associates of the composer in the Los Angeles music 
community and studied standard library references, 
such as David Ewen ' s The New Book of Modern Composers 
and the Encyclopedia Judaica . 

The approach taken was roughly chronological, covering 
the early years of Clara and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, 
their marriage, their emigration from Italy to the 
United States, and his music. 

Lorenzo Castelnuovo-Tedesco was helpful in translating 
some of the interviewer's questions into Italian and 
some of his mother's responses into English. He 
provided some biographical material concerning his 
father as well. 


Transcription of the tapes and the initial audit 
editing were done by the interviewer. She checked 


the transcript against the original tape recordings, 
editing for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling 
and verifying proper nouns. Words and phrases inserted 
at the time of editing have been bracketed. Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco reviewed and approved the edited transcript. 
She provided the Italian spellings of some names 
mentioned and answered the editor's queries. At her 
request, an excerpt from her husband's autobiography 
was included in the volume. 

Mitch Tuchman, senior editor, reviewed the edited 
transcript. Intrigued by the appearance of certain 
Spanish phrases, such as ^' como se dice ? and ^ como se 
llama ? , he checked the original tape recordings. 
There he found that the phrases transcribed in Spanish 
(and subsequently rendered in Italian by Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco in her review) had been recorded in Italian 
as had other Italian words and phrases, which had been 
deleted during the original transcription. Some 
English language questions and responses had also been 
deleted. With the aid of Sylvia Tidwell, an assistant 
editor with a knowledge of Italian, all of this material 
was restored; the entire manuscript was then reedited. 

At Castelnuovo-Tedesco 's request, Nick Rossi wrote the 
introduction. Other front matter and the index 
were prepared by Oral History Program staff. 

The original tape recordings and edited transcript of 
the interview are in the university archives and are 
available under the regulations governing the use of 
permanent, noncurrent records of the university. 
Records relating to the interview are located in the 
office of the Oral History Program. 


JANUARY 18, 1981 

ANDRADE: Mrs. Castelnuovo-Tedesco , we were talking about 

your early years in Italy. You were born in the town of 

Prato. When were you born? 

CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: I was born March 22, 189 5. My 

father's name was Alfredo Forti. 

ANDRADE: Your mother's name? 

CASTELNUOVO: My mother's name was Giuseppina Vivanti , 

born in Senigaglia, Marche. 

ANDRADE: You were telling me earlier about your father 

and your grandfather, about their factory. Could you 

discuss that again, the wool factory that they had in 


CASTELNUOVO: Yes. My father's father was a very gifted 

man. He founded a woolen factory together with his brother 

Giulio, and they became very well and very famous with this. 

They constructed some plaids of all kinds, so beautiful. 

Then when they were made, they were put all together and 

sent to certain agents in England and put some— 

ANDRADE: Imprint? 

CASTELNUOVO: — [inaudible] 


CASTELNUOVO: Labels, and then sent all over the world. 

You know, at that time, they didn't have electricity. They 

didn't have electricity at the time; so the factory was 

built near the river Bisenzio, which was going down 

from the Apennines to Prato. I remember very well this 

little factory, which became then bigger and bigger. And 

it was the water of the river — I don't know how--which made 

the machines run. 

ANDRADE : I see. It generated power. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, gave the power to the machines to work. 

I remember this very well. We were very little children, 

and we were walking around sometimes, once in a while. 

We were frightened to walk around those machines, because 

they were very-- The river was called Bisenzio. 

ANDRADE: The factory was quite successful? You said your 

grandfather was quite successful. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Si. They were quite successful. As a 

matter of fact, when my father and [his] younger [brother] 

took on the factory, they were already wealthy and very 

gifted, and they went on. Then they built another factory 

closer to — because at that time they started to have 

electricity and so forth--so closer to Prato. This little 

factory by the river was still working--I don't know — in 

different ways. But they built another factory, much bigger, 

in the plain of Prato, closer to Prato. And this went on 

until my father [died]. 

ANDRADE: When did your father join the business? When he 

was a young man? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, he must have. Yes, yes. 

ANDRADE : He knew he was going to join the business? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, he started early, no doubt. But at 

first, of course, he had been to school. He was very 

gifted and loved literature and poetry very much. I 

remember during vacation he was teaching us with some 

poetry and reading us Italian classics and so forth. This 

I remember very well. We were very young. 

ANDRADE: And your mother? 

CASTELNUOVO: My mother was also listening. So she was 

reading also. My mother also had some brothers. One was 

very gifted as a doctor. He was a good doctor and became 

a psychiatrist at the last — Well, at that time psychiatry 

didn't exist much; it was when Freud came out. But he was 

a kind of pupil, let's say. This was one of my mother's 

brothers . 

ANDRADE: Did you have any brothers or sisters? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, many, many, many. 

ANDRADE: Did you? Who were they? How many were there? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I had a sister, older sister than [me], 

who married also a musician, composer, very gifted. He was 

a removed cousin from Bologna. He married my oldest sister. 

ANDRADE: What was your sister's name? 


ANDRADE : And what was her husband's name? 
CASTELNUOVO: The name, Liuzzi. The husband's name was 
Fernando Liuzzi. He was very gifted; he was teaching first 
in Bologna and then also at the conservatory in Florence 
for many years. When we were sent away, he came also, about 
the time we came to America. He came also to New York. He 
was already teaching at some university in New York. 
LORENZO: I think it was Columbia. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. He was not a strong man. And then he 
had [a heart] attack, and he had to go back, and then he 
died too early. So this was my oldest sister. 

Then I had two brothers, Giorgio and Aldo--very nice, 
very gifted, especially Aldo. And this sister--you have 
seen the picture--Nella, she was a painter. We were six. 
And then the youngest one was Piera, who married also a 
doctor from Ferrara, Italy. They came to America, and 
she's still in Boston. She's still in Boston. Her husband 
died two years ago only. He was a doctor. She lives in 
Boston; we talk over the phone sometimes. She's the youngest 
of all of these six children. 

ANDRADE: So you were the fifth of six children? You were 
the fifth child? 

CASTELNUOVO: I was the second. My sister Paola [was] the 
oldest, and I was the second — Clara. Then Giorgio, Nella, 
Aldo. And Piera is the one who is in Boston. She's still 

there; we speak often. 

ANDRADE : You were telling me about your education as a 
young girl. How old were you when you started elementary 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I had a lady — a teacher, a maestra — 
at home for two years. Then the third grade, I went to 
school. I had a very gifted old woman. I don't remember 
the name, but I still remember her. I had third and fourth 
grade in school in Prato. Elementary school, you know. 
Then after this, I went to ginnasio —classic ginnasio — 
at the Collegio Cicognini in Italy, in Prato. And then 
there I had two years of Collegio Cicognini, first and 
second ginnasio, where you start Latin right away — Italian, 
of course, literature, all kinds, and Latin. You learned 
the classic Latin. 

And then after this, we moved to Florence. And in 
Florence I had all the other years of ginnasio with Latin 
and Greek; that's what I learned. And then privately I 
learned French and English—not much German, because when 
I started to learn German the First World War started, 
and then I gave it away. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, because I had no time. When the 
First World War came, we didn't like to speak German. 
Anyhow, we didn't have time. I had to work. I remember 

working in hospital when the war started in 1914. I was 

eighteen years old or whatever. French you also 

studied in school. And then I started reading right away 

French literature very much, of course. We were very close 

to all the classics and what was modern literature, French. 

French and English, I read it all. 

ANDRADE: Did your family know English? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, not much. 

ANDRADE: Why did your family move from Prato to Florence? 

CASTELNUOVO: We moved because my father thought that it 

would be nicer for us to live in a bigger city and have 

more ways to approach society, people. I mean, in a big 

city like Florence you could see and learn more and know 

more people, and there were theaters and concerts. Prato 

was a small city, more--I don't know what to say. 

ANDRADE: How old were you when you moved? 

CASTELNUOVO: When we moved, I was — [to Lorenzo] Aiuta me . 

ANDRADE: But you were not finished with school yet. 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, no. I was thirteen. Nel novecento — 

ANDRADE: Oh, very young. So you finished your schooling 

in Florence? 


LORENZO: Then it must have been about 190 8. 

ANDRADE: Mrs. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, what about the business? 

Did your father give up the business in Prato when he moved 

to Florence? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, no. We moved to Via Masaccio. He 
rented a nice apartment in a villa, second floor. There 
were no cars at the time; so he had a carriage, man with 
a carriage, taking him to the train station, center 
station. And with the train [he went] to Prato every 
morning and came back in the evening every day. 

Then he died early. He was working very hard. It 
must have been just before the world war. The war started 
1914, right? La guerra mondiale . [My father died] just 
before that, about a few months or so. Oh, it was a terrible 
time, because my father passed away, and then the war started. 
ANDRADE: How old was he when he died? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, I don't know. Too young. I don't know 
exactly. He must have been over fifty, but not much over 
fifty. He was so young. 

ANDRADE: We were talking earlier about the Jewish population 
in Italy, and you were saying it only constituted about 
1 percent in Italy. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, that's what I say, about, you know. 
[About 100,000 people. C.C.-T.] 

ANDRADE: I think now would be a good time to talk about 
the different Jewish groups in Italy that you have in your 
notes there. You were talking about the three groups. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, that's what I have [in my notes]. The 
Jewish people in Italy were a small minority. (Is that 

what I said? About 1 percent?) And they could be 
divided in three groups. The first one was in Italy since 
the time of the Roman Empire, and they were settled down 
in the city of Rome, the states of Umbria and Marche. 
Marche is the country that goes to the Adriatic Sea, the 
other from Rome. And this was the Stato Pontif icio , 
what was called the stato of the popes. 

The second one had come from Spain around 1492, when 
there had been the great — come si dice " cacciata " ["expul- 

ANDRADE: Purge? 
LORENZO: Inquisition, purge. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, cacciata. They were sent out from Spain, 
sent away from Spain. And they arrived at the cosa c'e porto 
di Livorno ? 

LORENZO: The port of Leghorn. 

CASTELNUOVO: Leghorn, in Tuscany, you know, by the sea. 
Livorno, which was a porto franco , open port. And then 
they moved around Tuscany, in the state of the granduca di 
Toscana . And there they are still Ebrei Sefardici . 

The third group, probably of origin Austro-Polacco , 
Polish from Austria. They spread in the region of Lombardo- 
Veneto, Lombardia and Veneto. And they are Ebrei Ashkenazy . 
ANDRADE: And your father and your husband's father were from 
the second group, is that right? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes. Both of our fathers — my father 

and Mario's father--were [of] the same origin. And the 

mothers--our two mothers—were from the first group. 

ANDRADE: Was your family very religious then? Did you 

observe the [holidays]? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, they were not very — come si dice ? But 

they felt their origin. I mean they didn't need to 

make--I don't know--to go very often to the — [to Lorenzo] 

Non so come dire . Non seguivano i— Lorenzo , aiuta me . 

LORENZO: My mother's family did not belong to a temple as 

far as I know. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, they didn't need to follow the — go to the 

temple every day. In Prato, there was no Jewish temple at 

all; only in Florence, there was one. Once in a while, you 

know. But they felt their — 

LORENZO: They had a sense of their cultural heritage, but 

they were not particularly-- 

CASTELNUOVO: Come si dice ? A loro fedelta to their origin, 

you know, they felt that they belonged to this— 

LORENZO: My father's family, on the other hand, were more 

involved with the Jewish community. They belonged to the 


CASTELNUOVO: But my father was very — [to Lorenzo] 

no costante. II mio padre era fidele alia sua nascita, 

la sua gente. 

LORENZO: What my mother is trying to say is that he 

was very faithful to his background. 

CASTELNUOVO: Fedele . Come si dice " fedele "? 

LORENZO: "Faithful." 

CASTELNUOVO: Faithful to his origin. As a matter of fact, 

I remember, when we arrived in Florence we didn't know 

much, because in Prato we had no culture of the Jewish 

origin or the Jewish culture, and so forth. And for some 

time, he [my father] took us a professor, a Jewish professor, 

who belonged to the Jewish temple, a professor of history. 

And for some time this man came once a week and taught 

us history, of the Jewish history and faith, and so forth. 

And also, together our cousins used to come, the son and 

daughter of [my father's] other brother. They used to come 

to my house, and we had these lessons of Jewish culture, 

let's say. Just to learn, to know. 

ANDRADE: Well, in the early part of the century in Florence, 

or in any other part of Italy, were Jews treated differently? 

CASTELNUOVO: Non capisco . 

LORENZO: [translates — inaudible] 

CASTELNUOVO: No, oh, no. No, oh, no. No, nothing at all. 

Italy has been — We didn't feel any difference at all. No, 


ANDRADE: I see. You were about nineteen years old, you 

said, when World War I started. 


CASTELNUOVO: Yes, about. The war started in 1914. 
[to Lorenzo] Diciannove , that's right. 
ANDRADE: And how did [the war] affect your life in 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, we did have the war. One of my brothers 
was for some time in the war on the Alps. He had some, not 
very bad wound but he was sick or so. Then he was in a 
hospital for a while. A first cousin of mine was wounded 
very badly, and he was for years-- The Jews went to the 
war just the same as the others. There were no differences 
at all. 

ANDRADE: Were you working in a hospital? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, yes, during the war. You know, the men 
were at the front or working somehow as soldiers and officers, 
and so forth. I was a young woman, and I was working in 
a hospital. I was not a nurse. My father had passed away, 
but he had expressed a— I don't know — he wouldn't have liked 
that. So I worked for several years, until the end of 
the war, in a- - come si dice ? — in the office of the hospital 
where you take care of the laundry. So for hours I worked 
there — I don't know--from one o'clock until the evening. 
There were nuns there taking care of the laundry. I remember 
I was very friendly with the head nun who was taking care 
of it. And we young girls were working every day, all day. 
ANDRADE: Were your sisters also working at the hospital? 


CASTELNUOVO: No, my older sister: she had been married 
already. And the other one, my brother, was an officer. 
The little one was too young to go. 

ANDRADE : What happened to your father's business after 
he died? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, after he died, the brother was there, 

ANDRADE: This is Uncle Giulio? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. And then there was a very intelligent 
young man who was the son of a sister of my father who 
took [over] -- come si chiama ? — Vittorio. He was the son of my 
father's sister. And he became a very important head of 
this, and he kept the fabric [factory] for years, many years. 
Now he's not there anymore, of course. And then — my brother 
came back, and they also-- And for many years the factory 
went on pretty well. 

ANDRADE: You also talked about your music training. You 
took voice lessons. 

ANDRADE: And these were private lessons? 
CASTELNUOVO: Private lessons, yes. Maestro Modena in 
Florence was a very gifted man, a nice person, and he 
taught me. He taught me music more; so I was singing [mostly] 
[Claude] Debussy and what was modern music at the time. 
And then I had also a voice teacher, but I don't remember 


the name, of course. I had several: a lady, and then this 

man was very good. 

ANDRADE: Did you study the piano? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, piano also. But I was not very good. 

The mathematical part of the piano or the music was not 

too successful for me. 

ANDRADE: But music was very much a part of your family? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. I enjoyed the singing very well. As 

a matter of fact, I sang Mario's music much; he was playing 

and I was singing. But rather in a — not too technically. 

I don't know how to say it. 

ANDRADE: What were your favorite subjects in school? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, literature, all kinds. 

ANDRADE: French, Italian? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Literature — all the Italian, French, 

and English, too. Then I read much of English literature. 

ANDRADE: What did you think of Greek? How did you like 


CASTELNUOVO: Greek? Oh, very much. We read the old 

literature very, very much. 

ANDRADE: Did you study the sciences and mathematics? 

CASTELNUOVO: No. Mathematics I was not good in. I had 

all grade A in all kinds of literature. And mathematics 

they gave me just to go through, but I was not good. 

ANDRADE: How old were you when you left the university, 


when you graduated? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I was not too old, because I studied 
privately after. Until I married, I was more or less 
studying privately. We married in 1924; so the years before, 
I was studying privately. 

ANDRADE: Do you get a diploma before you study privately, 
or after you study? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, I didn't have any diploma. I mean, yes, 
[from the] liceo , but nothing from what is called the 
Italian university, no. I was studying privately with 
this Professore Vandelli. He was very gifted in literature, 
Italian literature. 

ANDRADE: Why did you study privately? Did young girls not 
go to the university? Did girls study at home? Was the 
university only for the young men? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I studied privately. I used to go to 
the professor's house. As a matter of fact, some daughters 
of this professor with whom I studied literature were in 
school with me — in ginnasio, liceo — one of the daughters; 
so we were friends. To have lessons with this professor, I 
used to go to his house. 

ANDRADE: Oh, so you were still enrolled in a university? 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes, and had private lessons. Then I 
left the university and studied at the home of this professor 
without taking examinations anymore, no. And then I was 


working in the hospital — all this until the war finished. 
ANDRADE: When did you meet Mario? What year was that? 
CASTELNUOVO: When we moved to Florence, I started — First 
I met his brother, and then I met Mario socially, in 
concerts. It must have been around 1912, '13, something 
like that. We were friends for about ten years. 
ANDRADE: So, you were very young then. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. We met socially. We went to concerts. 
I met his mother; we were friends. We had also a tennis 
club together, where my brothers used to come and Mario's 
brother used to come. Mario didn't come playing; he was 
too busy to play tennis. But he used to come once in a 
while, just to relax, to see us, to talk. So we became 
friends . 

ANDRADE: How did your father like Mario? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he didn't know him much, because my 
father was working all day away, and then he passed away. 
When [Mario] became our friend, he was not there anymore. 
ANDRADE: So he never knew Mario. 

CASTELNUOVO: Not really, not much. Instead, in the late 
years, my older sister's husband, Liuzzi, became a very 
great friend of Mario. And Mario used to come almost 
every evening; they lived not far from where I lived with 
my mother. (I lived with my mother and my brother.) 
Liuzzi lived very close to our house; so in the evening, 


I used to go to his — during the war years and so forth — I 
used to go almost every evening. And Mario used to go also, 
and we met there almost every evening. Then he was writing 
much music and showing to my brother-in-law, who was a 
very good musician, what he was doing. And I was there, 
and that's how we saw [each other]. We met almost every 
evening there. That's how we became [closer] friends. 
ANDRADE: I see. Well, what I'd like to do now is talk about 
your husband's background: when he was born and where. 
Could we do that now? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, he was born in Florence. They had an 
apartment in the center of Florence, very close to Piazza 
del Duomo, in an apartment there. 
ANDRADE: So he was born a week after you? 
CASTELNUOVO: He was born a week after me. He was [born] 
April 3, [1895] . 

ANDRADE: Did he have any brothers and sisters? 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. He had an older brother, Ugo. He just 
passed away a few years ago. He became a great lawyer in 
Italy. He was head of the — [to Lorenzo] Come si chiama? 
Capo di — Well, there were three brothers: Ugo, the older 
one; then Guido, the second one, who was an engineer—also 
very nice, intelligent, but not so active, I would say, [as] 
Ugo and Mario; then Mario, the third, the little one. I 
can show you a picture of Mario at that age. [tape recorder 
turned off] 


This is Mario in the country. You see this is a 
grape [arbor], and he's lying on his [back]. He must 
have been nine, ten, something like that; I don't know 
the year it was taken. Isn't it nice? 

CASTELNUOVO: This is — you can imagine — myself in the 
country house. We were up in the hill from Prato to Bologna, 
in the Apennines. And this was a lady who was taking care 
of us, because we were many children. That's me. 
ANDRADE: I see. How old were you here? 

CASTELNUOVO: Six, something like that, I would say. And 
this is my father. You see how nice. This was taken — I 
don't know exactly when--but about late years. You see how 
nice. He was very sweet and very-- [to Lorenzo] Bella 
f otograf ia , questa . E molto carina — neglio tempo . You 
see a very intelligent person. He was gifted, tremendously 
gifted. [tape recorder turned off] . 

Mario had been over where [Gabriele] D'Annunzio was 
living and had been playing for him with a French singer 
some of his music and so about that time. I wasn't 
there, because I was busy with the children, but Mario used 
to go there, and this [telegram from D'Annunzio] came. Now 
read it. 
LORENZO: It's very flowery, Victorian in style. It says: 

My dear Mario, 

Just the other night the beautiful song of "Fiume" 


was sung to me [and this was a song that my father 
had written at the time of First World War] . So 
then I thought again of your other works, almost 
brought with the sound of the new music that you 
sent me, borne from the sea, solitary like a mys- 
tic island with its roots in the rigorous art of 
the old masters, with certain echoes of the 
Sistine and all of its suspended people. 

I will write you in the solitude which attracts 
me with the promise of regained melodious youth. 
I am very grateful to the muse and sybil Memmi 
[who was a mutual friend] . You will receive a 
long, musical letter. Goodbye in the salt and 

With an embrace, Gabriele D'Annunzio. 

ANDRADE: Thank you. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. He went several times at that time 

with this French singer, Madeleine Grey, who used to stay 

there a few days. 

LORENZO: Wasn't this Memmi Strozzi? 


LORENZO: This was Memmi Strozzi. There were two mutual 

friends: one was a woman named Memmi Corcos, who then 

later married Comte Strozzi, and the other was a very 

well-known French singer — actually she was French and 

English, because I think her father was English — Madeleine 

Grey, who also was a very close friend of Maurice Ravel. 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, she was a very well-known singer in 

France, and she knew all the musicians. [shows photograph] 

This is Memmi Corcos, a friend of Mario when they were very 

young. Her brother was a painter. 

LORENZO: Her father. 

CASTELNUOVO: Her father and — Dipinpi [?] era fratello , 
che mori molto presto . The father was [also] a very well- 
known painter. That's Florence, a villa in Florence, 
up to Fiesole, the village over Florence — Well, there 
are so many. 

LORENZO: Fiesole is one of the hills just outside of 

CASTELNUOVO: That's a beautiful [place]. He [Corcos] died 
before the war. 


JANUARY 18, 19 81 

CASTELNUOVO: An uncle [Samuele Tedesco] had no heir. 

When he [died], he left to Mario's father, to the family 

Castelnuovo, the money he had, what he had, and the name 

Tedesco. So they added to Castelnuovo the name Tedesco. 

ANDRADE: So this is Mario's grandfather? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, it was an uncle of his father. An 

uncle, not the grandfather. It was an uncle of Mario's 


LORENZO: No, he was a brother-in-law. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, la famiglia — 

LORENZO: Era sposato alia sorella del sup nonno . 

CASTELNUOVO: No, questo Tedesco era lo zio dei Castelnuovo . 

Era lo zio -- 

LORENZO: He was an uncle of my father's who was also in 

business with his-- 


ANDRADE: Are we talking about Mr. Tedesco now, who didn't 

have heirs? 

LORENZO: Right. 

ANDRADE: And he is the uncle of your father? 

LORENZO: I'm not sure. 

CASTELNUOVO: Era uno zio del nonno Castelnuovo . Uno zio !- 

che non aveva eredi , non aveva nessuno . Ha lasciato al 

nonno . 


LORENZO: Mother says he was an uncle of my grandfather. 
ANDRADE : And who became the beneficiary? 
LORENZO: And they carried on his name as part of the 
family last name, which was Castelnuovo. I think my 
father writes about it in the autobiography, but I will 
have to-- 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, it's written in the autobiography. 
ANDRADE: OK, we can check that later. 
LORENZO: Yes, we can. 

CASTELNUOVO: But that's what it is. This I know because 
I read it. 

ANDRADE: So the family name then became Castelnuovo- 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. The name became Castelnuovo-Tedesco. 
Mario was already born, you know. This uncle left the 
money he had, whatever he had, some silver, whatever — he 
had no heir--and the name. So they joined the Tedesco to 
Castelnuovo. Until then, their name was only Castelnuovo. 
And so they kept it, and we keep it. 

ANDRADE: [to Lorenzo] I noticed your paintings were signed 
"L. Tedesco." 

LORENZO: Yes. Well, legally, my name is Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco, but I use Tedesco because it's much shorter. 
CASTELNUOVO: And then because in America it's easier. You 
know, Castelnuovo nobody can pronounce. Instead, Tedesco 


is easier. So people here, they pronounce rather Tedesco 

than Caste lnuovo. They don't know how. 

ANDRADE: You said you met Mario's family. What were 

they like? What was Mario's mother-- 

CASTELNUOVO: Mario's mother was a very sweet person. 

ANDRADE: Wasn't she the one who taught him music? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. I met her in concerts. By the way, 

we met the Castelnuovo-Tedescos ' mother socially, mostly 

also in the Rosselli family. When we moved to Florence, 

we knew the Rosselli family — you know, the lady Rosselli 

who had these three sons, this tragedy. One died in 

the First World War, the older one, who was about my age, 

Aldo, the older one. The second, Carlo, and Nello, the 

younger one, Mussolini had them killed in France,* you 

know, when Hitler — [to Lorenzo] Come si pup dire ? 

LORENZO: They were assassinated in Paris in the late 

thirties . 

CASTELNUOVO: We were great friends. Let's see some pictures 

of Mario's mother. This is Mario's mother, pretty young 

when I met her. You see how nice. And this is the father 

and Ugo, the older brother, and father, Amedeo. And this is 

the mother. 

ANDRADE: Her name was — 


* The Rosselli brothers were assassinated near Bagnol, 
France, c. 1936. C.C.-T. 


ANDRADE: Senigaglia? 

LORENZO: She was apparently quite a good pianist, very 
musical. She started to teach my father music when he 
was very young. 

CASTELNUOVO: Now, as I show you pictures and letters — this 
is not family, but it's interesting; so you may be 
interested to see. This is the other brother, Guido. 
That's Guido in the middle. Ugo, the first, then Guido, 
and that's Mario. Oh, and those are [Igor] Stravinsky, old let- 
ters from Stravinsky. See, Stravinsky and his wife when they 
were here, and old letters we wrote. It's interesting isn't 


CASTELNUOVO: See. Well, I keep what I can. 
ANDRADE: Stravinsky's letters? 

LORENZO: Yes, we were quite close friends. My father 
was one of the pianists when Les Noces was first performed 
in Italy in the twenties. The first performance in Italy, 
he was one of the pianists. Then they met subsequently. 
Then, of course, they met again when they came to Los Angeles. 
CASTELNUOVO: Here we have the [Ernst] Toch family. 

CASTELNUOVO: We were great friends. 
LORENZO: Do you know them? 


ANDRADE : Yes. In fact, the older boy, Lawrence, used 
to work in our program. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, we were great friends. We came about 
the same time. They were a little older than we were. 

This is a picture when we went — well, quite a few 
years ago we went back to Italy — and that's me; and this 
lady--you see how nice she is--she lives in a very small 
village between Florence and Pisa. She's the daughter of 
my balia -- come si dice ?--my nurse. Yes, she's so sweet. 
(By the way, I want to talk to her, because I discovered 
that it's her birthday this month. We must call her.) 

And this is Lorenzo with his first child, look. Isn't 

that nice? 

ANDRADE: You look very much like your father. 

CASTELNUOVO: And that's his first child, and now he is at 

the university in San Francisco. 

LORENZO: At Berkeley [the University of California, Berkeley] 

CASTELNUOVO: In Berkeley. His son. 

Well, life is quite interesting. 
ANDRADE: Let's talk some more about Mario then. 
CASTELNUOVO: What do you want to know? 

ANDRADE: Well, to finish today's session, I wanted to know 
a little bit more about the family. For example, is it true 
that his father did not know [Mario] was studying music? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, yes, it is true in a way. He thought in 


a way he would be [in] other fields of knowledge. But 

his mother saw how gifted he was. His mother was playing 

the piano, and Mario was sitting under the piano as a baby, 

as a child, and started to be interested. And so Mario 

started to learn something. Then also he composed a few — 

He was eight, nine years old. Then when the father saw that 

he certainly was so--he understood that he was so gifted, 

how he played, he started to play the piano, and he- - come si 

dice ? 

LORENZO: He acquiesced. 

CASTELNUOVO: He accepted, and so he could go on learning 

piano and playing. Of course he also had to study his — 

Mario tells all these stories in his first chapter [of the 

autobiography]. So he had a teacher for learning school, 

[and a teacher for] learning the piano. He accepted things 
as they were. But it is true. But he didn' t— come si dice ? 

[to Lorenzo] Non ha f atto guerra alia situazione . 

LORENZO: Well, originally, my grandfather really wanted 

my father to study medicine, and he wasn't particularly 

sympathetic to his becoming a musician. But then when he 

realized that he was exceptionally gifted, then he accepted 


CASTELNUOVO: He accepted it; so he didn't fight. But of 

course he let him learn piano. 

ANDRADE : Mario's father was a banker in Florence. 


CASTELNUOVO: Yes, he was in the business and a banker, 
I would say. 

ANDRADE : When did he start composing? When he was eight 
years old? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, he started very, very early, a few 
little-- I can write it down for you. He wrote two little-- 
He says that these few, two, three little pieces that he 
wrote when he was eight and nine were with his mother. 
Then during the tragedy of the--when we came, they were with 
Mario's mother. Then when we left, something was lost. For 
instance, can you imagine, all the music I was singing, the 
package of the music I was singing, [was] completely lost? 
I don't know. We packed. We saved most, fortunately, of 
Mario's music, but some things [were] lost. 
ANDRADE: But he also studied music in the schools. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Well, he went to the conservatory 
[Cherubini Institute] in Florence. He had a few teachers. 
Then the most rewarding teacher he had was Pizzetti, 
Ildebrando Pizzetti, who certainly was a great composer 
and a great teacher, no doubt, in Florence. 
ANDRADE: When did he start studying with Pizzetti? 
CASTELNUOVO: This is a date I can't — 
ANDRADE: He was quite young? 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, quite young, yes. 
ANDRADE: About fifteen years old? 


CASTELNUOVO: Fifteen, sixteen, oh, yes, yes. Exact 
dates-- they are there. 

ANDRADE: Did he tell you any stories about Pizzetti? 
CASTELNUOVO: If you give me the book, I can — 
LORENZO: I think he was about sixteen when he graduated 
from the conservatory. 

ANDRADE: So he studied with Pizzettti after? 
LORENZO: Before, I think. 
ANDRADE: Oh, before. 

LORENZO: I don't know. We'll have to look it up. He 
was quite young. 

ANDRADE: The conservatory is not a university then? 
LORENZO: It's a separate school. It's also a state-run 
school. It's separate from the university. 
ANDRADE: But you enter after high school? 
ANDRADE: I see. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, he graduated from composition in 1918. 
LORENZO: Oh, he was much older; he was twenty- three. 
CASTELNUOVO: He took the composition degree. I should 
translate all this [autobiographical writing] : Because 
[Mario] had been sick, "[Pizzetti] could very well under- 
stand my situation [difficult: school, no school] and was 
very patient. He used to see that in a week I could learn 
what other boys could take some months [to learn]." Because 


he had been sick. I should translate all this to 

ANDRADE : He wasn't a healthy boy? Was he sick often? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he wasn't too, too — For instance, 
I remember once during the war, when the war started, 
he was supposed to start some — like all the young men, they 
used to go-- I went to see him in the hospital. He had a 
very great pneumonia or something. He got sick; so he 
didn't — 

ANDRADE: He wasn't in the military then? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in a hospital in Florence. He didn't 
go to the front at all. He was very delicate rather — 
ANDRADE: But he talks about Pizzetti in his autobiography, 


ANDRADE: Have you read this? 

LORENZO: Yes. It's been quite a while, but I could 
translate it for you. 

ANDRADE: Well, I wanted to end with your-- When did you 
meet Mario? You said you met him in Florence after you 
moved to the city. Was it before the war that you met Mario? 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. We met socially and then during the 
war-- Then he came also to see us in our country house for 
a visit. Then he became very friendly with my brother-in- 
law, the husband of my sister. We used to meet together 


almost every evening in my sister's house, which was very 

close to my house, where I lived in Florence. That's the 

war years, and our friendship grew and grew until we were 


ANDRADE: What were your first impressions of [Mario] when 

you first met him? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I always thought that he was a great 

composer and a great--I don't know — sweet person. We liked 

each other very much. We waited to marry because he was 

so busy with his working and his composing. There is a 

whole chapter dedicated to myself and to our relation- He 

thought he was too busy working to get married; so that's 

why we waited. That's the only reason why we waited to get 

married. But then we saw that there was nothing else to 

do. So we waited to marry because he was too busy working 

and composing. When you make a family, you have to give 


ANDRADE: And you were engaged, you said, April of 1923, 

a year before you were married? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, we married 19 23. 

ANDRADE: Oh, you were married in 1923. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, '24. I don't know the date. Now, wait a 

minute. (There is a chapter titled "Heifetz." " Apparazione 

di Bloch . ") I don't know. Now, I lost it. 

ANDRADE: When did you start singing Mario's songs? 


CASTELNUOVO: I was singing all of Mario's music and 

Debussy mostly. 

ANDRADE : Did you ever sing at concerts, or just for 


CASTELNUOVO: No concerts. I took part in some concerts in 

Florence in a choir; once when Mario was conducting a 

choir, I was singing in a choir — I don't remember what. 

There is so much here that I could read it all the time, 
but I have no time, because now all my time goes into 
answering people who write to me who want to know this 
and that and that. That's what I work on all day. 

This is an interesting chapter, you see: "La Mia Fede . " 
[to Lorenzo] Traduci . [inaudible] di nostro matrimonio . 

" Ricordo di Fernando Liuzzi . " You see this is a 
chapter dedicated to my brother-in-law, who was this composer, 
musicologist, and musician, who taught in Florence. We met 
every evening in their house — the husband of my sister. 
ANDRADE : The one who came to New York? 
LORENZO: Boston. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, who died. 

Ecco . This is a chapter for me. What do you want to 
know? Some dates, the date when we married? 

ANDRADE: Actually, we can find out later. I wouldn't worry 
about it. I think now would be a good time to stop, don't 
you, since it's been a long session? 


APRIL 25, 1981 

ANDRADE : First of all, did you have any non-Jewish 
friends in Florence? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. I mean Jewish people were not many. 
You know, all the artists, European artists, American 
artists, all of the countries — I mean, Florence was the 
artistic center in Italy, much more than any other city, 
not only in music [but also] in literature. For instance, 
walking in Florence I saw D. H. Lawrence--you know, Lawrence, 
the writer. They were all coming in Florence. Del nord, 
dall' Inghilterra — (You see, for me it is hard to say the 
names right away.) 

ANDRADE: Did you meet D. H. Lawrence? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, I didn't meet; I was a very little girl. 
But I remember seeing him walking around, and I was just a 
young girl. [to Lorenzo] Come si chiama , Lorenzo, il grande 
scrittore del nord dell' Inghilterra ? 
LORENZO: [James] Joyce. 

CASTELNUOVO: Joyce, yes. He was there in Florence for a 
while. They all came to do some work in Italy, teach some- 
how — here, there — or have a talk. But most of all, Florence 
was the greatest artistic place for musicians and for 
literature, for painting also, great painters. We had many 
friends, painter friends. And we met them — all of them, 


more or less. I remember during those years there was 
a place [Antico Fattore] in Florence where all the artists 
had a dinner together. I was there, too. I have some 
pictures, if I can look for it. I can find them. 
ANDRADE: Who gave the dinners? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, nobody gave the dinner. There was a 
kind of meeting society in a funny restaurant, you know, in 
a very popular restaurant, near the Ponte Vecchio, near the 
Arno [river]. And once in a while, all the artists in 
literature, in art, and in music met there. 
LORENZO: Antico Fattore. 

CASTELNUOVO: Antico Fattore it's called. 
LORENZO: It was an informal, social — 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. And they met over once a month. I 
don't remember exactly, but pretty often. And I met every- 

ANDRADE: And you and Mario-- 

CASTELNUOVO: We went also before marrying. I went there 
with some other friends. We had friends, painters-- 

[Giovanni] Colaicchi. I received a book his wife sent me 
recently. He was eighty a few years ago, two years ago. 
And they made a big reception, exhibition, in Florence, 
and she sent me-- I have it over there. And in literature, 
Arturo Loria we have pictures-- I have pictures there. 
By the way, there was also a-- Come si chiama ? 



LORENZO: Berenson. 

CASTELNUOVO: Berenson. You know, Berenson. 
LORENZO: Bernard Berenson. 

CASTELNUOVO: He had a big villa [I Tati] up in the hills 
of Florence. He gave very often big lunches--not dinner 
because it was up in the hills. So, we spent the lunch- 
time, from twelve until three, four in the afternoon. All 
these artists who were coming from around Europe, they were 
invited there. And we were invited, too. We went there. 
Ugo Ojetti was the great Italian critic. He lived in 
Florence, and he had a big villa. He gave also these kinds 
of lunches for artists who were coming there. Mario was 
always invited, and then after, of course, I went too. So 
we knew all the artists, European artists, and also 
American artists, coming from all over the world, I would 

LORENZO: Who were the people that started the music festi- 
val in Florence? 

CASTELNUOVO: [Alberto] Passigli. Passigli was of a 
Jewish family. He was a businessman, but he started to 
create the great musical meeting. And then he created 
the--come s_i chiama gli Amici della Musica ? 
LORENZO: Friends of Music. 

CASTELNUOVO: A society called the Friends of Music. He 
then started concerts in Florence, which were the most 


important concerts in Italy, much more than Rome or 

Milan; everything was there. That's why Florence was the 

greatest musical center and artistic center because of 

Ojetti, Berenson, and then this Passigli, who was a 

businessman; so he knew how to organize things. He was 

a great music lover, and so he organized all the greatest 

concerts in Florence. And that's why Florence became the 

great center of music. 

ANDRADE : How did Mario meet these people? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, when those things started Mario was 

in the-- He and the pianist- - come si chiama il gran pianista 

che vive a Firenze ? They were directors on top of these 

people who organized these concerts. There were two or 

three: Passigli was, in the business way, and Mario — 

Ernesto Consolo was the pianist who had been in 

America for years teaching and playing, and then he came 

back. He was getting older. And they were the artistic 

heads of those organizations. Mario was very young, of course, 

ANDRADE: How did he meet D'Annunzio? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, I don't know. Mario met him. I didn't 

meet him, no. But I saw him once or twice. But Mario 

used to — that's why — he used to go to play at the villa. He 

had a great villa on — 

LORENZO: I think what happened was my father wrote a song 

during World War I which was kind of a war song which 

became very popular. 


ANDRADE: A war song? 

LORENZO: Yes. It was sort of an anti-German song. 
I think D'Annunzio picked that up and used that. " Fuori 
i Barbari " : wasn't that how they met? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes, yes, when the war started. You 
know, now I don't have everything in my mind. If you 
would help — You know what you should do to make it real 
easy [is] help to publish Mario's autobiography, and then 
all these marvelous stories would be known, because every- 
thing is written there. My mind is old, and I forget. I 
keep forgetting them. I'm so busy with you and with — I 
can't have everything [in mind] because it's two, three 
volumes; I show you. 

ANDRADE: Well, right now maybe you could just tell us what 
you do remember. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, well, what I do remember I tell you. 

So Mario several times went to the villa of D'Annunzio, 
playing; he gave concerts, playing his music. And also, 
besides his music, one thing I remember is the French 
singer from Paris, Madeleine Grey, she sang many works by 
Mario. And Mario went several times to play for her, and 
she was singing at D'Annunzio' s house in the north, II 
Vittoriale--I think the name was Vittoriale-- before and 
and after the war. 

LORENZO: I think my father wrote something about this in 
his autobiography. 


CASTELNUOVO: Oh, in the autobiography he tells everything. 

LORENZO: But my recollection is that he had written a 

song which became very popular during World War I 

called "Fuori i Barbari." And then D'Annunzio picked 

that up when he was involved with Fiume — 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in the beginning and during the First 

World War. This started the friendship, of course. 

"Fuori i Barbari was the name of the [song]. Fuori i 

Barbari means "[kick] out the barbarians." 

LORENZO: It was sort of a freedom song. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. It was very — I have the music; I'm sure 

I have the music. 

ANDRADE : How did Mario meet other composers, such as [Igor] 


CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you I — 

ANDRADE: Do you remember meeting Stravinsky? Did you meet 


CASTELNUOVO: Oh, Stravinsky. Well, Stravinsky, of course. 

Well, he was for dinner here in this-- He was here in this 

house when he came to Los Angeles. He lived here, and we 

were here already. He was a great friend. He came for 

dinner here. 

ANDRADE: Did you meet him in Italy or here in the United 


CASTELNUOVO: Oh, also in Italy but more — 

LORENZO: I think where they first met — The first time 


that Les Noces was performed in Italy, my father was one 
of the pianists. Les Noces was scored for three pianos, 
and when it was first performed in Paris, it was played 
by [Francis] Poulenc and several well-known composers, younger 
composers. Then when it was performed a few years later in 
Italy, my dad, who was basically trained as a pianist before 
he started composing, was one of the pianists. When he 
went to Paris — I think it was around 1927 — I think that 
was when they first met and established a personal rela- 
tionship. Then later, of course, they met again here. 
CASTELNUOVO: Look what I have here, Lorenzo. These are 
some sketches you made. 
LORENZO: No, no, I didn't. That was a Christmas card from 


CASTELNUOVO: "A Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco . " These are all 

letters Stravinsky wrote when he was here. Look, I have 

everything here. 

LORENZO: We had mutual friends in Los Angeles-- 

CASTELNUOVO: This is a picture made here with a — 

LORENZO: --so we saw a good deal of them in the forties, 

in the early forties. 

ANDRADE: You mentioned that they met in Paris. So your 

father did travel? 

LORENZO: Yes, un-huh . 

ANDRADE: Quite a bit? 

LORENZO: Not a great deal, but his music was performed in 


Paris and San Francisco and in Vienna. His opera was 
performed in Vienna. So he did a certain amount of 
traveling in connection with the performance of his 
own music. 

CASTELNUOVO: This is very interesting: there are all 
kinds of Stravinsky's writing; I kept everything here. 
LORENZO: But when my dad first came here [to Los Angeles] 
in 1941 — actually in 1940, before we came out--he had 
a number of friends who were Russian emigres. There was 
quite a professional colony here in Los Angeles: actors 
and musicians, all kinds of people who were basically 
White Russian immigrants. Among them was a painter, Eugene 
Berman, who was a friend of ours — I studied with him 
informally. He was very close to Stravinsky; he did a 
lot of the sets for Stravinsky ballets. So through Berman 
and a few other people who were part of that group, we saw 
a good deal of him. 

ANDRADE: I know that [Jascha] Heifetz and [Arturo] Toscanini 
helped the family move to the United States. When did they 
meet? When did Mario and Heifetz and Toscanini meet? 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, in Italy Toscanini started to conduct 
Mario's overture very, very early. (You know, all this 
is in the autobiography. It's written: the year, the date.) 
And Heifetz came to Florence like everybody else, and he 
played Mario's Second Concerto for Violin and Orchestra 


with Toscanini everywhere. 

LORENZO: My dad wrote music for Heifetz and for [Gregor] 
Piatigorsky and for [Andres] Segovia, and they would come 
every year on tour. It was an established, personal rela- 
tionship . 

CASTELNUOVO: Piatigorsky was also a great friend--I have 
pictures of Piatigorsky--like in the family. 
LORENZO: But when the political situation in Italy began 
to deteriorate, of course, they encouraged my father to 
emigrate. [tape recorder turned off] 

CASTELNUOVO: So, at that time the artistic world of Europe 
was completely together, and everybody knew each other. But 
you see, all the details are written in this [autobiography]. 
What I would ask is the help to publish the biography, which 
until now couldn't make it. 

LORENZO: Well, unfortunately, there isn't a good traslation, 
There's only a partial and very inadequate translation, but 
there is a lot of material there. 

ANDRADE : Could you describe for me your husband's schedule, 
his work schedule? How did he work? 
ANDRADE: First, in Italy. 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, well, in Italy he was — well, it's hard to 
say, but he was working all the time, most of the time, 
during the day because he didn't have any work, organized 


work. He didn't need to work. We had money. When we 

came to America, here, with no money at all, because we 

had permission to leave Italy openly, but not to take 

money with us; so he had to work here. That's why from 

New York, after a few months of living in New York, we 

came down here, because the friends he had and so forth 

helped him to work in the movies. It was the only way to 

have some work and make some money, you see. So during the 

day he was more or less out of the house working over there 

or going to the movie places: MGM and the others. 

ANDRADE : In Florence, before he came to the United States? 

CASTELNUOVO: In Florence, he was working most of the time 

or going out for his pleasure or seeing friends. I mean, 

he was completely free. He didn't have any schedule. But 

then he was working for himself; so he was most of the time 

working for his own work, his own compositions, without a 


LORENZO: Well, he was basically a night person. He liked 

working at night because there were fewer distractions. 

His pattern was to get up late in the morning and do whatever 

things had to be done during the day. But most of his 

composing was done in the afternoon and the evening. He 

would usually stay up till twelve or one o'clock almost 

every night. 

CASTELNUOVO: During the morning, when he was ready, he 


could go out, see people, friends, maybe a museum or any- 
thing, meeting people from outside who are coming — just 
free. And then later, in the afternoon and night, [he would] 
work until he felt like. 

LORENZO: And he worked all the time, seven days a week. 
ANDRADE : But he still managed to socialize with the 
artists who came to Florence? 

LORENZO: Well, in the daytime he would see people and 
teach and do the things that everybody has to do. Most of 
his composing was done in the evening or at night. 
That was a pattern he worked out. 
ANDRADE: Did you say he taught also? 

LORENZO: Well, he taught here in the States. I don't think 
he did very much formal teaching, although-- 
CASTELNUOVO: No, not in Italy. But here, yes. His work 
was the movies and teaching. He taught everybody in 
America. His pupils were so many. 

LORENZO: His principal way of making a livelihood was 
writing for films and teaching. 
CASTELNUOVO: That's how we lived. 

ANDRADE: In Florence—what did you mean when you said 
Mario didn't have to work? He had money? 
CASTELNUOVO: We had money, yes. Mario's family and my 
family: we had plenty of money. We didn't need to work 
for money. 


ANDRADE : Even though your father had died? 

CASTELNUOVO: Even after my father died, because they 

had plenty of money. I mean, we didn't do anything special. 

LORENZO: Well, they lived very comfortably. 

CASTELNUOVO: We had money to live comfortably. 

ANDRADE: After you were married, where did you live? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, in Florence we had a nice apartment. 

When we married we lived for a couple of years with 

Mario's parents. And Pietro was born there in the house. 

We lived with Mario's parents for a couple of years or 

two and a half or two or three or something. Of course, 

we had a nice bedroom, Mario had a beautiful studio, room 

for his own work, and so forth. And the baby was born-- 

It was a big apartment, beautiful, in Florence, in the city. 

Then after two, three years we moved in an apartment 
for us. We rented an apartment; we didn't have a house for 
us. We rented a nice apartment and also Lorenzo was born 
there. And we lived there until we left. 
LORENZO: In the thirties they had a flat on Via della 
Robbia in Florence. But then they had this house in 
Usigliano, which was basically my mother's family's house. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in the country. So we lived there many 
months, several months, in this country house. I can show 
you the house there; it was beautiful. Mario wrote so 
much of his works in this place. I can show you. 


LORENZO: And then my father loved the ocean; so every 

spring they would rent a house below Leghorn on the coast, 

and for years they would spend a month or a month and 

a half-- come si chiama ? 

CASTELNUOVO: Castielioncello. 

LORENZO: Castielioncello, which was an art colony, south 

of Leghorn. And then later in the summer they would go 

up to Usigliano, which was a little town south of Pisa. 

CASTELNUOVO: His work was only his work alone, composing. 

LORENZO: He could take his work anywhere, and those were 

the places where he loved to work. 

CASTELNUOVO: We didn't have to stay in the city. He didn't 

teach; so his work was only composing. 

ANDRADE : When did you start your family? Did you have 

children soon after you were married? 


ANDRADE: And you were still staying with his family when 

you had your children? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, I told you. After we were married, 

we stayed about two years with the family, Mario's family. 

ANDRADE: And you already had a son? 


ANDRADE: Which son was this? 

CASTELNUOVO: Pietro was born in Piazza d'Azeglio, where we 

lived with the parents. And Lorenzo was born in the other 


house after we moved. 

LORENZO: My brother's five years older. 

CASTELNUOVO: Lorenzo was born six years [after we married] 

something like that. And Pietro was born after one year 

we married. 

ANDRADE : How much time did Mario spend with the sons? 

CASTELNUOVO: Not much. Of course, he followed them. He 

liked them, but he was working all the time. 

ANDRADE: Because he was working all the time, who 

then managed the house? Did you? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Well, I took care of the house, and 

I had some help. You know at this time, it was natural. 

Everybody had help. People had a cook. I had help for 

the children, to take care of the children, a young woman. 

She wrote to me yesterday; I received a letter from her, 

the girl who took care of the children when they were born. 

LORENZO: We had a nurse who was very much a part of the 

family, and her mother had been my mother's nurse; so she 

was a sort of surrogate mother. 

CASTELNUOVO: I have a letter on my table; I can show it to 

you. Yesterday it arrived. And I have a picture of her 

here, which arrived yesterday. 

ANDRADE: Well, talking some more about the family, did 

your social life change after you had the children? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, I didn't have to work too much. I had help 


in the house. Of course, I had to take care and the 
relation with children is different than [when you don't 
have them]. But it was natural for me. I don't know 
what to say. 

ANDRADE : Did Mario have any ideas about how to bring 
up children, or did he leave the bringing up of the 
children to you? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, we agreed on everything. We felt that 
children should be very close, just kept friendly and 
openly. They were very — They didn't need an education. 
We should love each other and grow up naturally. Of course, 
I was more, because he was busy-- But the way I used to talk 
to them [was] in a very friendly way, in a very open way, 
like real friends--not teach them. No, I never did that, 
and that they can tell you. [to Lorenzo] Is it true? 
LORENZO: I think so, largely. There was not very much in 
the way of indoctrination. I think we were very free to do 
what we wanted to do. It was a very permissive 
household. In some ways my father was uninvolved because 
he was so preoccupied with what he was doing professionally. 
But he was also a very warm and very affectionate person. 
So there was sort of a dualism: a great, close friend- 
ship but also a certain detachment. He was basically so 
compulsive about his work. 

ANDRADE: What about religious upbringing? [tape recorder 
turned off] 


LORENZO: Not a great deal. My father's family were 
Orthodox Jews and they were observing-- Religion was a 
very important part of their life. My father did have 
religious training, and we would occasionally go to 
temple with him and with my paternal grandfather. My 
mother's family, on the other hand, were not particularly 
[religious]. In fact, they were very uninvolved in 
orthodoxy and were not observing. So within our house, 
the issue of religion was not important. 

LORENZO: My father did observe the holidays, but that 
was about the extent of it. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, we knew our ancestors were [Jewish] 
but didn't take any involvement, special involvement, no. 
LORENZO: I think it was more a cultural interest in 
tradition rather than an involvement with organized 
religion. I think that was pretty much the way my father 

ANDRADE: Were you aware at all of your father's stature when 
you were growing up in Florence? 

LORENZO: Yes, but I don't think I really appreciated the 
quality of his work until I was a teenager. I was only 
vaguely aware of-- 

CASTELNUOVO: He was very young when we left. 
LORENZO: It just seemed like a natural part of the house- 


ANDRADE : With all the artists and musicians coming and 

LORENZO: Right. 

CASTELNUOVO: When we left he was eight, nine, something 
like that. 

ANDRADE: Did Mario want you to study music? 
LORENZO: Not particularly. I did study for a while as a 
child, but I think my father felt that it was such a 
difficult way to survive that unless there was a tremendous 
personal commitment and exceptional talent, it was not 
something that should be pushed. And I was much more 
interested in graphic arts. I had basically other orienta- 
tions. It was for me just a hobby. 
ANDRADE: Did Pietro study music? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, he studied piano in Italy. When we 
were in Florence, he liked music, and he started to play 
piano with a young lady. Pietro studied piano, yes. Then 
when we came to America he was so involved with his school: 
high school, then college, and so forth. But he didn't 
study any instrument here. But he liked music very much, 
and he's very--I don't know how to say it— to follow music, 
no doubt. Then he chose psychiatry, which is an art. 
That's why he started medicine. He graduated as a doctor. 
And then he took psychiatry, and that's what he's doing now. 
He's head psychiatrist at Vanderbilt University — which is an 


art, psychiatry. Of course, he's very much interested 
in music; he understands much. He goes to concerts, and 
the children also like music. The youngest is very clever, 
and she had some school reports which are wonderful, 
unbelievable, beautiful. And she plays the piano. We 
gave her a little piano: it was the little piano where 
Mario started to play. She has it with her in their 
house. And she plays the piano, and she studies with a 
lady, with a piano teacher. She's sixteen, seventeen. 
ANDRADE : Did you continue your singing after you 
married Mario? 

CASTELNUOVO: Pardon? Did I continue what? 
LORENZO: Cantare. 

CASTELNUOVO: Later, no, because I didn't have time. When 
we came to America, I was so busy taking care of the 
[children] , and Mario was busy with the piano all day. 
There was no time for me. You know, singing needs a 
continuous exercise, keep the voice on. I was too busy, 
and then getting old. 


MAY 9, 19 81 

ANDRADE: Let's start talking about Mussolini and fascism 

and your experiences. Could you describe some of your 


CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you, of course Mussolini--I 

don't know how to say—was not a very interesting person, 

was not a great person. When he started to do what he did 

— come s_i puo dire ? La gente importante , the Italians 

whom we trusted were not for Mussolini. Nobody — artist 

or not artist — any serious people were not Fascisti. 

ANDPADE : What about D'Annunzio? You were friends with 

D' Annunzio. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, he was not a Fascista. 

LORENZO: Well, yes, he was. I think he was. 

CASTELNUOVO: You think he was? No, I don't think so. 

LORENZO: I think what my mother is trying to say is that 

very few people took Mussolini very seriously. Very few 

artists and educated people generally were Fascists. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, absolutely, very few. Artist or not artist, 

serious people were not for Mussolini, were not Fascists. 

I remember I was in a train — I had gone with my 
mother far away to the north of Italy because a brother of 
my mother, who was a doctor in the military had been sick. 
And coming back in the train, it was the first time we saw 


some camice nere, "the Blackshirts . " [It was] the first 

time I saw them. I remember because this was the first 

time I saw them; we only heard about them, that they 

had started to use these camice nere, the Fascisti. But 

we had never seen them in Florence. So in this train we 

saw them. 

LORENZO: What year is this? Che anno |? 

CASTELNUOVO: E difficile dirti . 

LORENZO: Was it in the late twenties? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, no, much before. Mussolini, quando 

comincia ? 

ANDRADE : The march on Rome was 19 22. 

CASTELNUOVO: Late twenties? No, prima di twenty-four. 

LORENZO: Early twenties. 

CASTELNUOVO: But I still remember this kind of impression. 

We looked at those camice nere in a kind of frightened way. 

Then they were not yet organized; they were just starting 

to wear those [black shirts], the soldiers. So we were 

kind of suprised and frightened. I mean, nobody was 

Fascisti, the good people, the serious people. But Mussolini 

was not so--I don't know how to say — we were not so 

frightened by him as we became when he became involved-- 

when he was united with Hitler. Hitler was an awful German 

genius in a way, you know, frightening. So that was what 

brought to Europe the great fright. 


ANDRADE : How did that change your lives, after [Mussolini] 

made the pact with Hitler? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, because we saw what Hitler was doing. 

And Mussolini got more and more legato — come si dice ? 


CASTELNUOVO: Tied with him. So, he was doing what Hitler 

wanted, and that's what happened. 

LORENZO: The so-called racial laws in Italy were passed 

after the Rome-Berlin Axis pact, which was—I'm not sure 

exactly when--1937. 

ANDRADE: But I want to know how it affected your lives 

since you were Jewish. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, because Hitler started to get more and 

more involved in anti- Jewish doings. We heard about 

that. Many people whom we knew-- The people who were in 

my family- -my brothers, Mario's brother, and cousins-- Because 

we could--I will tell you later--organize our flight, come 

away to America, but the others couldn't. They didn't 

know anybody in America. But these cousins and brothers 

and sisters, during the night, they escaped one at a time 

the way they could to Switzerland. It was the country that 

was free, was accepting, reliable, and the closest. 

LORENZO: That was much later. That was actually during 

the war. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. We heard the Jewish people were more 


and more taken and then killed, taken away and never 
heard about. When Mussolini became so tied with 
Hitler, [Jewish people] were taken from their homes by 
night like that and never heard from again. 
LORENZO: Well, Italian Jews, after the Rome-Berlin Axis 
pact, were so disenfranchised in the sense that their civil 
liberties were removed. My father's music was no longer 
played. My brother and I couldn't go to public schools, 
for example. It was fairly like being a noncitizen. My 
father was in the enviable position of having many friends 
in the United States who encouraged him to come, and of 
having skills that were relatively easy to export. Whereas 
it was very difficult for many other people to leave. 
CASTELNUOVO: But many other people who had work in Italy 
couldn't come out like that. In my family, we were the 
only ones who came to America. We came to America because 
Mario's friends were Toscanini, Heifetz, Piatigorsky; they 
all helped him to come out. In a week, they gave us the 
right papers, the American papers, to come away, in a few 
days, because they were such great friends. The greatest 
and the ones who helped most were Toscanini, Heifetz, and 
Piatigorsky . 

ANDRADE : Who made the decision to move to America, your 
friends or you? 
CASTELNUOVO: We, together. It was the only thing we could 


do; so we came to America--I, with Mario, I mean, with 

my family, and one of my sisters (she's still in Boston) 

because she was married to a doctor, a great, very good 

pathologist. The others had lavori ("occupations") [that] 

couldn't be [exported], but medicine is something the same 

around the world. I don't know exactly who helped them 

to come. Anyhow, they came to Boston about the same time 

as we came . 

LORENZO: Actually, I think my father decided to try to leave 

Italy in 19 38. But he didn't want to just leave the country 

without a visa, because he didn't want to create problems 

for his family; so he applied for an exit visa, and that 

took a considerable amount of time. Actually, it took about 

a year, I think. 

ANDRADE : So, there were difficulties. 

LORENZO: Yes. But he was able to get it. So then we left 

in the summer of '39, which was really just before the 

war broke out. But he had made the decision earlier. 

CASTELNUOVO: We came here from Italy with the Saturnia , a 

big Italian boat, I mean, openly. We didn't escape like the 

ones who went out without the right papers, through the 

lakes, to Switzerland, like so many of my friends, so many 

friends, and other members of my family. 

LORENZO: Or some people got tourist visas and left and just 

never returned. That was relatively easy to do. But if you 


wanted to emigrate, it was not that easy. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, it was very difficult. But Mario really 
said he wanted to have it, and he succeeded in having the 
right papers openly, and we left openly, I mean, not 
escape. You understand? 

ANDRADE: Yes. You said last time we talked that you had 
difficulties. You could not take money out of Italy. 
CASTELNUOVO: No, no money at all. They let us go with the 
right papers from Italy, but no money. So we arrived in New 
York really with nothing. So that's why Mario had neces- 
sity to start — But he had already concerts organized in 
New York, many concerts. He was playing, and his music 
was performed. Then the reason why we came to California 
was because to work in the movies, the money was easiest. 
And we were a family. The boys were in school. We needed 
money, as you know. 

ANDRADE: But going back to Italy, before you left, you 
said Mario's music could not be performed anymore. 
CASTELNUOVO: No, the music was not performed, no. As long 
as Mussolini and Hitler were there, no, the music was not 
performed, of course not. 

ANDRADE: How did this affect Mario? What did he say to you, 
to his friends about this? 

CASTELNUOVO: About that? Well, my dear, what can you do? 
Nothing. The course of the events were so great; that the 


music was not performed was natural. So many terrible 

things, tragedies happened that this was not the biggest 

tragedy, of course. People were killed and disappeared ; 

so you can imagine it was a natural thing that his music 

was not performed. 

ANDRADE : Did he continue to compose? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes, until the last day in Italy. 

LORENZO: The first guitar concerto [Concerto no. 1 in D 

Major] was written just before [we left] . 

CASTELNUOVO: Until the last moment. Besides he couldn't 

perform and go and play as he used to do all the time; 

so the only thing he was doing was writing music until 

the end, until the last moment. 

ANDRADE: Did any of your friends or family members have 

any problems with the Fascists? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you, they escaped. When the 

tragedies became great, they escaped by night. Mario's 

brother, the eldest, escaped to Switzerland, his family, 

you know, in a different way. The other brother was hidden 

by some-- Oh, that's what they did sometimes: in some 

conventi -- 

LORENZO: Catholic convent. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Some priests, they helped the situation. 

One of Mario's brothers, the second one— he's dead now (I 

will show you [photos ]) --the family was hidden in a convent 


for some time. There were many in Italy, many convents 

of priests and nuns, and they helped very much. 

ANDRADE: They helped the Jewish people. 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, they helped the Jewish people as much as 

they could. 

LORENZO: I think even much earlier, in the early thirties, 

my father was quite aware of what was happening because 

many of his friends-- While he was really not politically 

involved, many of the people that he knew were politically 

active, people he had grown up with, like the Rosselli 

family. These were people who were very actively anti- 

Fascist and who had very serious — You know, they were 

killed by the Fascists. So he had a very good sense of what 

was happening and what was coming. I think that's what 

led him to decide to leave. 

CASTELNUOVO: Also, Mario's father was helped in some convent 

by some priests for some time. He was an old man. The 

mother died after a while, after we left. She was very 

sick and so forth. So the father was alone more or less 

with the other brother who was there. And he was also for 

some time--I don't know; I can't say exactly how long — in 

a convent, helped by priests that knew the other brother. 

I can show you the pictures of Mario's father. 

ANDRADE: OK, we can see that later, maybe afterwards, after 

we finish talking. 


CASTELNUOVO: So this was the situation. 
ANDRADE : What about your non-Jewish friends? Did you 
have to stop seeing them, or did you continue to see them? 
CASTELNUOVO: No, because if they were friends of ours, 
they were not Fascist. So we loved each other. It didn't 
matter to be Jewish or not Jewish. If we were friends, we 
stayed friends also after the events. Nothing changed. 
ANDRADE: Their lives were not endangered? There were no 
restrictions? They could still see Jewish-- 
CASTELNUOVO: No, no, no. No, because they — 
LORENZO: At that point I don't think there were any 
restrictions. In their circle of friends, there were no 
close friends who were Fascist. It was not a problem. 
CASTELNUOVO: Not at all. Then when we left and the tragedy 
became so hard, we were not there anymore. When Hitler 
became the master of Europe, we were not there anymore, 
fortunately. So we don't know what — Then, at that time, 
the Jewish people who were still there had already disap- 

ANDRADE: But it had gotten serious already: your sons could 
not attend the public schools. So, it was getting quite 
serious . 

LORENZO: It changed very rapidly. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in the last few months—weeks , I would 
say--when Hitler took the position, it became in a few 


weeks, I would say — It didn't last-- 

LORENZO: I don't recall exactly when it was when Hitler 
came to Italy. It must have been in '37 because I recall 
the preparations and the streets of Florence decorated with 
banners with swastikas and so on. It was shortly after 
the Rome-Berlin Axis pact and Hitler made a trip to 
Italy; that was sort of a binding gesture. That was about 
the time that things really began to change. 
ANDRADE : I think it might have been '36, but that's some- 
thing that can be checked. 

LORENZO: I only have the picture in my mind. 
ANDRADE: What did Mario think of having to leave Italy? 
He loved Italy, he loved Florence-- 

CASTELNUOVO: Of course, it was a tragedy, greatest tragedy, 
but it was a greater [tragedy] to be taken where all the 
Jews were killed. There was no choice. It was the greatest 
tragedy you can think of. Of course it was. When we 
left, I remember sitting in the boat: Lorenzo was very 
young, he started to [do] gymnastics with somebody on the 
boat, and so forth. But if we had stayed in Italy, it would 
have been the end of everything. So we were lucky to leave. 
Though we knew that we were coming to America, we didn't 
know what we could do. We were grateful to the people who 
helped us to come out. 
ANDRADE: What about your family, your mother and your 


other sisters? Did they stay? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, they left also. My brothers went to 
Switzerland by night. 

LORENZO: That was after the war was in progress, in the 
middle of the war. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, they left as soon as they could. 
ANDRADE: And your mother? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, my mother died, passed away before. She 
was not young, an old woman. She was sick. She passed 
away at home, in her beautiful home. Besides my brother, 
the second brother, Aldo, his wife was not Jewish; so 
probably she had also more acquaintance, more people she 
knew; so probably this helped to hide. But for the last 
months or weeks or so they all left. They went to Switzer- 

LORENZO: Well, in the late thirties, there were no physical 
threats against people, unless they were politically anti- 
Fascist. And so Jews were relatively safe, except that it 
was difficult for them to make a living, to live a normal 
kind of life. So, many of them chose to stay and did stay 
through the beginning of the war. It really wasn't until 
the early forties, after the Germans really took control of 
the country, that it was very, very dangerous. At that 
point, the Germans really began to search out and deport 
the Jews, and that's when most of them tried, if they could, 


their escape to Switzerland. So that occurred in '42, 
'43, really the latter part of the war. 
CASTELNUOVO: Cosa dici ? 

LORENZO: Quando loro [ chiu ] sono scapati dall' Italia [ alle ] 
Alpi — chi sono scapati piu tardi, dopo che i tedeschi hanno 
preso control. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, my family and friends also escaped at 
the last moment, when there was nothing else to do. Of 
course just to escape Hitler. That's the only reason. 
ANDRADE : Tell me again, who were the friends who helped 
you move to America? Did you write to your friends in 
America, or did they offer to help you? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, both. 

ANDRADE: Who were they? Could you tell me again who are 
these friends? 

CASTELNUOVO: Who helped with the American papers? 

CASTELNUOVO: I told you, it was Toscanini and Heifetz, 
very much. 

ANDRADE: The two of them? 

LORENZO: They were our sponsors, and they were among the 
first to encourage my father to leave. 
ANDRADE: But they did the paperwork? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. They helped us. I remember in the biog- 
raphy there is one note of Mario's. He says that he received 


the letter from Heifetz asking what was my age. That's 
why, to have the right [inaudible], because that's what 
they needed, you know. They needed to know exactly the 
age of Mario, myself, and the children. 

ANDRADE: Did you and Mario consider going to another coun- 

ANDRADE: Always America? 

CASTELNUOVO: I tell you, first of all, because Europe was 
all one mess. We knew that Hitler was going through all 
of Europe. So the tragedy would take the whole of 
Europe, what happened. Then America was, first of all, 
a great country and far away. So, it was much more helpful. 
And our greatest friends were in America. 

ANDRADE: Did Toscanini and Heifetz help you financially? 

ANDRADE: But you could not bring money out of the country? 
CASTELNUOVO: No, they helped Mario maybe to have a concert 
or this or that, but not really financially, no. 
ANDRADE: How did you survive in America when you first 
arrived, since you could not take money out of Italy? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, that's why Mario started to work right 
away with concerts, many concerts at that time. He played 
with orchestras, many performances. Then soon, the second 
year, we came to California, and he had a job at the [movie 


studios], so he had the money, cash. 

ANDRADE: Where in New York did you live for that first 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, a few days in a hotel. Then, we had 
some friends living in Larchmont, New York, not far from 
New York, maybe an hour, half hour by train, and Mario 
used to go every morning to New York, because New York 
[it] was just summer, August or something, when we arrived, 
and the heat was terrible. The children were sick by the 
heat, the climate in New York. We were not used to it. 
So these friends of ours, the Rossellis — I don't know, maybe 
you know the lady, I have the books here, I will show you 
--Amelia Rosselli, she was a great woman and a writer in 
Italian, in Venetian, rather. She was young; she was a 
widow. She had three sons who were fighting Fascisti 
and Mussolini, and so forth. The first one, Aldo, who 
was just my age, had been killed in the First World War. 
He was a soldier, and as soon as he arrived, he was killed 
in the First World War. The second two, by the way, who 
were anti-Fascist fighting, they had been killed by 
Mussolini. So it was a great tragedy. They were greatest 
friends of ours. They were really anti-Fascist. They 
did whatever against Mussolini. So, they had escaped, the 
mother with--no, no, the sons were dead, all dead. Now, 
she had escaped from Switzerland, because they were already 


[out of Italy], with one daughter-in-law and the children, 
the grandchildren. So they lived in Larchmont. 

When we arrived in New York, we met them, of course. 
She helped us to find a little house in the country, near 
Larchmont, and we rented a house there. We stayed there 
until we came to [California], one year and a half [later], 
something like that. So we lived there until Mario found 
the first job at MGM, at a movie [studio] . So we had a 
little money to start. This was very — I'll show you the 
book of-- 

ANDRADE : I'm curious: what did you and Mario think when 
you first arrived in America? What did you think of America? 
You stepped off the boat — 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, we liked it. We liked the people, we 
liked the way we were met, and we liked everything. Only 
the climate: I tell you, it was August, and it was very 
hot; so that's why we went to live in Larchmont. The 
children started school. Lorenzo didn't speak English at 
all, but he went to school and he didn't have much dif- 
ficulty. Pietro knew already — Pietro was about fourteen 
years old. He had finished the ginnasio in Italy, clas- 
sic ginnasio; so he already knew a little English, and so 
he started high school in Larchmont. 

ANDRADE : How did Americans treat you as Italian refugees? 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, very kindly, absolutely. Everybody was 


very helpful. Oh, absolutely. Mussolini and Hitler 
were just terrible people; so we were only--I don't know 
how to say— so everybody was ready to help us. We are 
very grateful. We have always been and we are. 
ANDRADE : I'm curious: what was your boat ride to America 
like? When you were on the boat from Italy to America, what 
kind of trip was that? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, pretty good. Of course, we knew that 
we were observed by the Italian authorities. There were 
some people whom we knew were — 
ANDRADE : On the ship? 

CASTELNUOVO: But as we left openly, with permission, with 
our papers in order, they didn't do anything against us, no. 
ANDRADE: But there were other Italians on the ship who were 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, there were some friends also, yes, a 
great friend; by the way, now he's retired more or less. 
His wife died. She was Polish, but he's from Florence, and 
he was a great friend of ours. And now he's still a pub- 
lisher. Recently he published still some of Mario's work 
he received recently. [Aldo] Bruzzichelli . His picture I 
will show you. I have the picture on the piano. So, he 
was a greatest friend of Mario, and of us. They were on the 
same boat with us. They were not Jewish. They were just 
Italian, from Florence. 


LORENZO: She was. 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, she was Jewish, that's true. She was 

Polish Jewish, but he was an Italian Catholic. They were 

just on a trip for pleasure, I would say, they came to 

America for a while, not to stay. Then they stayed a little 

longer because — I don't know--when we left something 

happened: the war came out. So I know they stayed longer 

than was planned. Aldo Bruzzichelli , I will show you. He 

still lives in Florence. 

LORENZO: He was a very close friend of my father's. I 

don't know whether they really intended to emigrate, but 

they left as tourists. Then, of course, they realized what 

was happening, so they stayed in the United States all 

through the war. And many people did that. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. They left as tourists. Then the war 

came . 

ANDRADE: When you left Italy, did you and Mario think you 

were never going to return? 

CASTELNUOVO: We knew that we wouldn't come back until 

things had settled, finished, and that's what happened. As 

a matter of fact, then also we couldn't go back so soon, 

because Mario was here working. As a matter of fact, his 

mother died; we didn't see her again. It was tragic. We 

never saw again the mother and father. So, it was all a 

tragedy, but we were thankful that we could escape, because 


otherwise we would have completely disappeared, as many 


ANDRADE : Well, you're now in America, and I think this 

would be a good stopping point for this session. 



JUNE 13, 1981 

ANDRADE : The last time we were talking, we were talking 
about when you arrived in America. I'd like to know what 
you and Mario thought when you finally arrived. What were 
your reactions? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, we were very happy to have been able 
to leave Italy and that nightmare which was going on at 
the time. We arrived in America, and we were glad to 
be here. We knew so many people. Mario knew so many of 
the great artists and also some Italian people or from other 
countries of Europe who were able to come out at the same 
time; so we were not lonely at all, no. This is true. 
ANDRADE: What was different about America from Italy? You 
were in New York. What did you find different, and what did 
you find similar? 

CASTELNUOVO: Of course, it was different, the kind of life. 
Besides, the climate — it was the end of July, the beginning 
of August--so the heat was so terrible. This was a very 
heavy thing. I mean, the children were so sick about the 
heat in New York. They were saying, "Let's go back! Let's 
go back!" because we couldn't breathe. We had never 
experienced this heat; so it was very heavy. But other- 
wise, as entourage of people, we didn't feel at all strange, 
no, because we knew many people. Then as New York was so, 


so hot we couldn't live there. You know, the big 
city was not easy. Also we had some Italian friends, 
the Rossellis, who lived in Larchmont. 

LORENZO: It's a suburb of New York near New Rochelle. 
I haven't been there since the early 1940s. 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, about an hour with the train. Mario, 
of course, didn't drive; so he had a little train going 
up and down. 

He had to be in New York very often for work. He 
right away had many concerts and [had to] meet people for 
his work and so forth. Larchmont was very pleasant. It 
wasn't so-- The climate: it was kind of country. That's 
why we took a little house there, and we lived there until 
we came to California. One year and a half later we moved 
to California when we could. 

ANDRADE: Were there any things you did not like about New 
York, aside from the weather? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, no. The people were very helpful, very 
friendly. Mario at that time knew all the great artists. 
As I told you, Toscanini and Heifetz and so many other 
people helped us to come. They helped us to come, to have 
the right papers in a week, to move from Italy, to have the 
right papers to get into the United States. So everybody 
was very friendly in New York and in America. 
ANDRADE: What was the difference between New York and 


Florence? You said Florence was the cultural center of 
the world. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, of course, Florence was unique, 
and we were born there and lived there. But at that 
moment it was a hell because of Mussolini and Hitler and 
what was going on. So it was only frightening to be there. 
Everybody, all the Jews possible, tried to leave, to go 
out. As a matter of fact, many of my friends and Mario's 
brothers and my sisters and brothers left Italy. They 
couldn't come to America because they didn't have any means 
to come to America, but they left for Switzerland as soon 
as they could, by night, through the lakes. In a few weeks 
or months, when things became really frightening between 
Mussolini and Hitler, they [fled] to Switzerland, everyone. 
And they stayed in Switzerland until Mussolini and Hitler 
were dead. All the people, all the Jews I knew. It was so 
terrible that if some old people, Jews, who were sick or too 
old to leave, if they didn't have enough help to leave Italy, 
they were taken even [from] their beds, and they disappeared 
and [were] never seen again and brought to the Jewish 
camps. They disappeared and were never heard [from] again. 
It was frightening. This happened to old people who were 
too old or sick to go away. 

ANDRADE: What did you think, going back to New York, what 
did you think of the cultural life there? 


CASTELNUOVO: It was good; it was a great life. Perfor- 
mances of all — especially in the musical field. Toscanini 
was there, and he performed also Mario's things. He was 
doing the best he could, and he was a great man. He was a 
great personality, living there for years until he was too 
old, and he had to retire at that time. All the great 
artists were there; so we had only admiration for them, 
no doubt. 

ANDRADE: Was it like Florence again, meeting different 
artists and musicians? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, it was not. It was, of course, a big-- 
I mean, New York at the time — As Europe had become; 
Germany was what it was, France, the same, in another way, 
were all destroyed; so New York was the only place where 
there was a great life in all fields and safe, no doubt. 
ANDRADE: Did Mario say anything to you about what he 
had in common with American artists? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, he had much in common because he had 
been meeting the great artists of all the world for many 
years when we came here, for about ten, fifteen years. He 
was already friends with all of them, internationally. At 
that time, most of them were in New York and trying to 
live there. New York was the only center, more or less, 
[that was] safe as possible [considering] what the world 
was at that time. And Mario knew all of them. (Wait a 


minute. I have a paper where I put some notes last 
night.) [tape recorder turned off] 

Just a very short time after we arrived, Mario 
performed in Carnegie Hall his Concerto for Piano [and 
Orchestra], [John] Barbirolli conducting, the Second Piano Con- 
certo, and then in Carnegie Hall, in the month of November — 
ANDRA.DE : That was a world premiere apparently of the 
Second Piano Concerto. 

CASTELNUOVO: Also Heifetz performed something in Carnegie 
Hall in the month of November. 

ANDRADE: My notes say that in November 19 39 was the world 
premiere of the Second Piano Concerto. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes. But then in Carnegie Hall, I have 
here Heifetz, [Albert] Spalding, and Edward Jones performed 
something by Mario. 

ANDRADE: That was when you were already in America? 
ANDRADE: No, I don't have that. 

So you were only in New York for a year and a half? 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, because then Mario realized — When we 
left Italy we couldn't take any money. We were happy to 
have our permission to leave with the right papers, but 
not to take any money. So it was very hard. We couldn't 
live with what Mario could make with concerts. What con- 
certs? He was a composer, not a concert performer. So 


we needed money to live, with a family. That's why 
we came to California. We came to California because 
the only way to live was to have a job in some--how can 
I say? 

ANDRADE: In the movies, you mean? 
CASTELNUOVO: In some movies. 
ANDRADE: How did he start — 

CASTELNUOVO: That's what happened. You know, Mr. Rudy 
Polk had been a secretary and traveling with Jascha 
Heifetz for years. We knew him when Heifetz was performing 
in Italy for many years. Rudy Polk was his agent. In 1940, 
when we were in New York, Rudy Polk lived in California; he 
was from California. Rudy Polk, the secretary of Heifetz, 
was a very nice, dear friend of Mario, called Mario from 
California, from Columbia [Pictures], and told Mario, by 
phone, that he had already made a contract for Mario to 
work at Metro-Goldwyn [-Mayer]. Then Mario, in a few weeks 
or so, left New York and came to California to start this 
work, to- - come si dice?-- to see what work would be and 
decide if he would accept and so forth. That's why Mario 
left alone. He stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood 
for some months, because the children were in school in 
Larchmont, and we couldn't leave right away. So he came 
alone to see if the contract was good, was working, and 
that's how he started with Metro-Goldwyn. Then Lorenzo 


and I came about six months later. 

ANDRADE : How did he like writing music for the movies? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he didn't like it much, of course. 
They were very organized; so they gave him some scenes to 
write. He never wrote — only exceptionally later — a whole 
picture. But they gave him one scene here, another scene 
there. Of course, he learned the technique of the movie, 
because he was a very good writer, but it wasn't easy 
and it was quite different. He did only in different 
movies, one scene here, two, three scenes, never a whole 
movie. I don't know how it was, working-- That's the 
way-- Mario, of course, didn't like that, but he did it 
because he needed the money. He had a certain amount of 
money each year, or month, I don't know, [from this work]. 
ANDRADE: For how long did he do this? Did he write music 
for the movies until he died, or did he only do it for 
a few years? 

LORENZO: I think he was only under contract with MGM for 
a few years, two or three years. And after that he continued 
doing work on a freelance basis, and he did a good deal of 
writing for Columbia and Universal, and a number of other 
studios, but it was sporadic. He really didn't want to be 
tied down to [writing for films], because he found that he 
really didn't need to do it, and he preferred teaching and 
composing; so it was always a kind of secondary thing. Later 


he did do a number of full films on his own, but it was 
never a primary interest or commitment; it was always 
secondary activity. 

He did a couple of films that are fairly well known, 
I guess. One was Ten Little Indians , a film by Rene Clair. 
I think it was called Ten Little Indians or And Then There 
Were None --I can't remember because they changed the title. 
ANDRADE: The Agatha Christie? 

LORENZO: The Agatha Christie film. Then he also did a film 
at Columbia, Loves of Carmen , with Rita Hayworth, that he 
did by himself. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, this is a complete work. I have the record 
of this. 

LORENZO: He also did music for some cartoons for UPA and 
a number of other project. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, many. He was asked to work for many. By 
the way, the contract with MGM was termine -- come si dice 
" termine "? 
LORENZO: Ended. 

CASTELNUOVO: Ended in October 19 43. Then he worked free- 
lance wherever he was asked to this or that. Then in the 
meantime he had started to teach, and the teaching became 
bigger and bigger. He was teaching all day — that's the 
two works — after he was here a while. [Teaching was] 
something he had done very, very little in Italy because 


he was only busy writing for himself; he didn't need that. 
People started to come and asked him to teach them. This 
became bigger and bigger. As a matter of fact, he was going 
to some movies or going to have some work from some movies 
once in a while, and all day from morning until late after- 
noon, he was teaching. In the night, he was working for 
himself — in the evening until late — composing his own work. 
Then there are all the works down in the little book you 
saw. He had been working for himself all the time. But 
all day he was teaching. 
ANDRADE : Who were some of the pupils? 

LORENZO: Andre Previn and John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, 
Henry Mancini--a lot of people who have become very suc- 
cessful in film. Leon Levitch. 

ANDRADE: How did the students know about Mario? 
CASTELNUOVO: There were so many students, I can't tell you 
all of them. They still write to me. Yesterday, somebody 
sent some music. There are so many who are not so well known, 
but who have become good musicians. [One of them] wrote me 
a few weeks ago: Robin Escovado. He started with Mario 
many years [ago] and very successful he was. When Mario 
left and couldn't take care of him anymore, he changed. He 
was working on computers, machines, different things. He 
left music. Now, last letter he wrote me — a few months ago 
— to say he was very moved because he had started to work 


with music again and compose. 

Then during these beginning years [Mario] became 
so known [for] teaching that he was asked to have a 
special — I've written down--we were about two months 
Mario was teaching at Michigan State University. So he 
had many well-known pupils over there also. He made a 
special course about writing opera. He was called the 
Distinguished Visiting Professor. We were there October, 
November, December [of 1959]. We came back before the 
ending of the year. 
ANDRADE : Did he like teaching? 

CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. He liked teaching very much. And 
he was very loved as a teacher, absolutely, very. Besides 
this Robin Escovado, this one who called was~ 
ANDRADE: Leon Levitch? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Andre Previn, of course: he came, he 
was a young boy. I opened the door, and he was already--I 
don't know — proud of himself, quite a young boy. Herman 
Stein also was a pupil. He almost left music, but he was 
a very loved pupil, very intelligent. And the one you 
mentioned here, of course, Henry Mancini. 

LORENZO: [Mario] was affiliated with the Los Angeles Conser- 
vatory of Music. And because he was a very good technician 
and was very good in teaching theory, a lot of young 
composers who were interested in the film field came to 


study with him, orchestration, harmony, counterpoint, 
composition, and so on. 

ANDRADE: So there was that special angle, music for 

LORENZO: Well, I think many of them were interested in 
cinema, and that was one of their objectives in terms of 
a career, and since he was both a composer and a composer 
who had written for film, I think he developed a reputa- 

CASTELNUOVO: [to Lorenzo] Dimmi i nomi di quelli — II m' a 
telefonato molti giorni fa . Lui era un gran violinista 
c he e ancora in giro , e la sorella -- E sonavano tutti 
insieme . 

LORENZO: Yalta Menuhin. 

CASTENUOVO: Menuhin — not the Menuhin — Yalta Menuhin studied 
with Mario for a long time. She called me the other day. 
She lives in England now. She was here in Los Angeles 
for some family [occasion], and she called me. She studied 
with Mario. He was very well known and loved as a teacher, 
no doubt. 

ANDRADE: Did Mario ever say who had the most promise? Did 
he have any hopes for special students, or did he think 
they were all going to be capable of being good musicians? 
Were there any special students that he had great hopes for? 
LORENZO: Chi considerava avere piu talento ( presso i 
averi) ? 


CASTELNUOVO: Well, they all had different talents in 

music, but he liked them all very much. He tried to help 

them in different ways, all of them. That's why the ones 

I mentioned to you were very loved pupils, no doubt. He 

helped them. Each one is different. 

LORENZO: I don't remember him talking too much about the 

talents of particular pupils. But I do recall he felt that 

Andre Previn had the potential of being a very strong 

composer if he had continued, except that he became much 

more involved with performing, conducting. I think he 

felt Herman Stein was very talented. 

CASTELNUOVO: Herman Stein was very intelligent and a very 

close friend. But when Mario left, their love for music 

was-- They missed something. They missed much. That's 

what happened to some of these pupils. 

ANDRADE : Leon Levitch is one of your close friends. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, because he lives close. He calls 

me whenever he can. He's very busy. He's still composing 

whenever he has time, but to make a living he takes [apart] 

the old pianos of other centuries and puts them back again. 

That's his own work. He takes the very old pianos and puts 

them back in-- Aiuta me. 

LORENZO: Restoration, piano restoration, but he's still 

active as a composer. 

CASTELNUOVO: But he's still composing. A few weeks ago, 

he came and [played] me a composition he made in the 

memory of Mario, which is very beautiful. He's still 

a good composer, besides all this kind of work that he 

does . 

ANDRADE : What were the contrasts between Los Angeles and 

New York? What did you think of the cultural activity 

going on here? Was it different? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, yes, it was different. Los Angeles, 

especially at that time, was the center of movie work. 

There were some concerts once in a while. New York was 

the center of great concerts, great musical events, 

bigger, no doubt. Los Angeles was the movies, more or 

less. Now the concerts have become more [frequent] — you 

know, the orchestra--than there used to be at that time, 

no doubt. There wasn't much classical music going on. 

Now there is a great orchestra and [Carl Maria] Giulini 

conducting. That's much greater. 

ANDRADE: Did that bother Mario, that there wasn't much 

classical music? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, no, because he was so busy, as I told you, 

teaching and writing for himself. From the little book, 

you see how much he wrote for himself and how much he was 

teaching. He was so busy, there was never an empty moment, 

no doubt. And the climate at that time was beautiful. 

California was much nicer than what it is now: no smog, 


beautiful sky, beautiful everything. Now it's much warmer 

and too smoggy. At that time it was beautiful. The 

climate was so perfect, I would say. No heavy winter 

and no heavy summer. 

ANDRADE: How did Mario think the Americans accepted his 


CASTELNUOVO: Well, Europe was closer; so when the great 

music was — There was more activity all the time. As 

a matter of fact, the great American artists used to 

come to Europe to perform. There was more going on than 

in-- But this didn't exist anymore during the war and after 

the war; everything had changed. 

ANDRADE: I wasn't thinking so much of the American artists, 

but the American audience. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, the American audience was quite nice 

and accepting, understanding, no doubt. 

LORENZO: My impression is he felt more connected and more 

appreciated in Europe. 


LORENZO: I think it only came really in the last 

decade of his life, when the guitar music became more 

popular and reached a broader audience, that he had the 

kind of recognition that he had had when he was younger 

in Europe. I think the forties and fifties were really 

very difficult times for him. 


CASTELNUOVO: Yes, they were. As a matter of fact, 
the audience became again more interested — 
LORENZO: But there was very little audience for 
chamber music and [inaudible] music, and these were 
the areas where he had really been most active. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, this is true; this is true. Performance 
of Mario's work started again after those years when 
Segovia created again the new guitar music. But all the 
music which had been performed so much before in the 
old years wasn't performed anymore, and they're still not. 
I mean the way of concerts and of chamber music changed 
completely since the years before the war. 
LORENZO: I don't know about that. His orchestral music 
has never been widely performed in this country. The 
realities of opera performance are very, very difficult, 
and it was only in the last years of his life that there 
began to be some activity in that area. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, one more thing I want to say: in the 
old years in Europe, Mario had written so much for voice 
and piano, songs. And the concerts for voice and piano 
and sometimes other instruments had many performances in 
Europe at the time, before the war. Then this died com- 
pletely. Mario had written so much for voice, and this 
music was not performed anymore. Don't you see? Now there 
are no concerts for voice, in America or in Europe. Singers 

you hear only in opera. But they don't give concerts, 
chamber concerts. Chamber singers: they don't exist any- 
more. Singers don't sing at all in concerts now—not here, 
not in Europe. It never came up again after the war. 
ANDRADE : Well, there are some recitals, but-- 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, very few. 

ANDRADE: --but the audience doesn't show up. 
CASTELNUOVO: There are not great performances. Singers 
only sing in opera. 

LORENZO: There's a very limited audience, and [singers] 
tend to sing operatic arias. 

CASTELNUOVO: If they sing a concert, they give only 
operatic arias. They don't sing chamber-- They don't 
sing [Robert] Schumann and [Franz] Schubert and Debussy, 
nothing, in concerts now. Not only Mario's music is dead, 
all the music. They sing only operas, which is awful. I 
don't like opera pieces in concerts. It has no meaning. 
That's what happens now. If you have a woman, a singer give 
a concert, she sings only one scene, one piece of an opera. 
She doesn't sing the classical music anymore. Don't you 
see? That's true. 

In my time, we used to sing Debussy like it was-- Now 
who hears [Debussy]? It doesn't exist anymore. Nobody 
sings Debussy or Schumann or Schubert or Mozart, the 
classicals, which is very, very sad, because the best 


music for the voice — that's what it was — chamber. Women 
used to give concerts with this music. Now nobody hears 

ANDRADE: When you came here to Los Angeles, this was the 
early forties when you arrived, the war was going on in 
Italy. How did this affect Mario and his music? 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, very much. We were absolutely-- Terrible, 
you know. First, it was so difficult to have news of what 
was happening. Then his mother died, and his father was 
hidden in un monastero — by some friends — un convento . The 
father was alone, old; so he [was] kept the last year of 
the war. Fortunately, he was safe, being hidden in this 
monastery. The others — the other brother, Mario's brother, 
older brother and his family, my brothers, my sisters — flew 
to Switzerland, as I told you, by night, and came back only 
as soon as the war was finished. Of course, it was a 
difficult life, but it was not so dangerous anymore. 
Mussolini and Hitler had been killed. Then it was hard to 
start again, but they made it. That's what happened. 
ANDRADE: Were you and Mario involved in the anti-Fascist 
movement in America ? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, we didn't do politically. Then anti- 
Fascism in America — what could you do? There was nothing 
special you could do. The war was going on. But, of 
course, we were anti-Fascist. 


ANDRADE : Did you have any friends who were active in 

the anti-Fascist movement? 

CASTELNUOVO: We knew some people in Italy who did, some 

friends of ours, the old friends who were not Jewish and 

who had not left and who were there; they did what they 

could, but it was not easy. 

LORENZO: Didn't you know Salvemini and some of the people 

who were— 


LORENZO: There was really not all that much that could 

be done. In fact, everyone was for the war. There was 

no question about support for the war. Everyone was involved 

in that sense. So I don't think there was any major anti- 

Fascist activity in the Italian community. 

CASTELNUOVO: But, of course, we knew the people who were. 

There were a few anti-Fascists in South America that left 

Italy, and we knew them, of course, and we agreed with them. 

But we didn't work especially-- The war was going on. 

LORENZO: But in Italy there were a great many people 

involved in the resistance. 

CASTELNUOVO: Of course, we knew all of them who worked in 

Italy and did what they could as anti-Fascists . Of course, 

everybody was. 

ANDRADE: How did your husband feel at the end of the war? 

American soldiers had been fighting Italian soldiers. 


CASTELNUOVO: Well, of course, we were sorry the war 
was going on. But there was nothing else left to do. 
They fight very well, and I think they fight and went 
through the war the best they could, no doubt. 
ANDRADE: Did the war in Italy affect his music, his mood 7 
CASTELNUOVO: Of course, for some time music didn't 
exist anymore, like everything else. But then it took 
back again when life began to be there. When life in 
Italy started to — Mario was not forgotten, no, no doubt. 


JUNE 20, 1981 

ANDRADE : Let's talk about what traditions and what 
artists influenced your husband. 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you, he liked very much all 
the classic music of all countries. Of course, Beethoven, 
Mozart, the great Schumann, and Schubert — I mean, the 
classic; he followed the classic music all the time. 
He never changed his feeling for modern writing. It was 
his own way of writing and the classic. He never changed. 
This is what it is. 

ANDRADE: You were saying he studied with Pizzetti? 
CASTELNUOVO: He studied with Pizzetti for many years in 
Florence. Pizzetti lived in Florence, and then he moved to 
Milan. Then also when he was not studying anymore, he 
listened to him; he liked his music very much. Pizzetti 
wrote much chamber music and operas. This you can see; 
you know where to find it. It was very interesting and very 
beautiful. I liked it, too. Pizzetti was one of the great 
composers when we were young, no doubt, in Italy. Of 
course, there were the greatest opera composers, but 
had been already, many. There were not many great composers 
at the time but some, of course, and Pizzetti was one of the 
very good. 
ANDRADE: What influence did Pizzetti have on your husband? 


CASTELNUOVO: Well, he certainly had. He was one 
of the few who influenced him, also in the mood and in 
the orchestration, no doubt. Mario admired his teaching. 
ANDRADE : Who were other people who influenced Mario? 
CASTELNUOVO: I can't think of them now. But what were 
the great composers at that time in Italy? Mario was 
friendly with all of them, and there were some young-- 
ANDRADE: What did Mario think of Stravinsky's music. 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, certainly he admired him. It was one of 
the greatest of the beginning of the century no doubt. 
ANDRADE: But the music was so different. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes, it was so different, but he admired his 
way, his personality. He wouldn't do the music like him, 
but he admired him, and he thought [Stravinsky] was a great, 
great composer. And he is. Of course, the greatest 
who changed the music of the century was Debussy. No 
doubt he changed the music of the century, and Mario 
admired him absolutely, and he played some of his music. I 
remember I sang--because I was singing at the time-- 
and I sang what I could. But [Mario] didn't try to write 
like him, because Mario thought that each one was different. 
Each artist has his own personality, and that's what it is, 
what it should be. I mean, he didn't try to copy them, 
no, to follow them, no, never, not Stravinsky, not Debussy. 
His own way was from classic and the way he felt the music. 


He couldn't do like somebody else. That was his feeling, 
and my feeling, too. When you have a personality, you 
can't change, no doubt. 

ANDRADE: What form did he like writing the most? 
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he liked very much music for singing, 
for voice--voice and piano usually. Many great singers 
had wonderful concerts and so forth. Then also for 
orchestra he started to write. And then he wrote operas. 
Now that's too long to talk about. He started to write 
overtures to Shakespeare's plays. Toscanini conducted most 
of them. He wrote several of the overtures, without writing 
the whole opera — overture to this play, the other play — as 
he felt Shakespeare very, very much. [In] the overture he 
put all the music he felt about the play. And Toscanini 
performed many of them. I have records of them. They are 
not on sale, but I have them. 

ANDRADE: Were the overtures played often in concerts? 
CASTELNUOVO: Some have been published, also by recording. 
It was possible to find them then. Now, I don't know what 
happened. After a few years publishers go away, and they 
die, and they change, and you can't find the music anymore. 
But if you keep it, it still exists. 

ANDRADE: Mario also wrote music to many English poems. 
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, many. Many, many. 
ANDRADE: Were these songs performed often in Florence? 


CASTELNUOVO: Oh, they were performed, yes. All the 
best singers at that time, English or French singers, 
performed them at the time. He was performed all over. 
Now nobody, as I told you the other day, nobody sings 
chamber music. They sing only operas, which has no sense, 
to perform a scene of opera, a piece of opera. It should 
be in the opera, not in a concert. It doesn't mean any- 

ANDRADE: What did your husband like about the English 
poetry and the Shakespeare plays? 

CASTELNUOVO: He knew the English poetry very much. You 
know, in the little book you received, that you read, 
there is written everything he has. 

ANDRADE: Yes. I didn't mean which poems. I was curious 
what did he like about the poetry? What did he find 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, great poets are great poets — I don't 
know how to say. I have a great fascination with the 
great poets. I still read. This is the last one I'm 
reading now, in the evening when I am through. Look what I 
am reading. 

ANDRADE: A biography of Walt Whitman. 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. We knew the classic ones, and this is 
the last one, which I have not read, and I try to read it 
now. I have the poems, and this is the biography. My son 


gave it to me, and it's quite interesting. I'm about at 

the end of it. 

Well, all the great poets are all here. Mario read 

everything, and he put to music-- Look all these here are 

all the classic poets. He wrote all the sonnets of 

Shakespeare, for two voices. In the little books you 

find everything — by Keats, by all the great poets. He 

admired it. That's why his music was in the classic style. 

He never changed completely. He started classic and 

developed in a classic way. It was always the same 

personality. It stayed that way. He never changed his 

nature or his style, never. Nobody could have him change 

his personality, no. 

ANDRADE : Another influence in his music was the Bible. 

Could you tell me more about that? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, there is much I can say. Let's see. 

There is a chapter in his biography where he speaks only of 

the Bible. 

[The following is an excerpt from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco ' s 

autobiography, Una Vita de Musica , written in 1955. This 

chapter, translated from the Italian by Burton H. Scalin, 

appeared in the Journal of Synagogue Music 5 (1974) . It is 

reprinted here with the permission of the journal's editor.] 

I laid the first flowers grown in my new garden on an 
altar and offered them to God and "to all my dear, 
departed ones." These are my compositions for the 


Truly, my contacts with the synagogue have always 
been slight. Yes, I was a member of the Jewish 
community in Florence; and, since childhood, 
I went to the temple on the solemn Holy Days — 
not so much because of inner conviction, but 
rather to do something nice for my parents. 

"Temple" was the official name, but it is really 
not the appropriate word. For the Jews temple 
refers only to the one destroyed centuries ago 
in Jerusalem. Today, the places of prayer are 
just synagogues, "schools of the law." 

Despite a certain external grandeur of lines, 
the temple in Florence is not really beauti- 
ful. The interior has a chocolate color and 
is decorated with arabesques, making it resemble 
a mosque. However, it seemed beautiful to me 
when I was a child. And about midday, when the 
sun filtered through the red, yellow, and blue 
stained-glass windows, and when the gilded 
doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum were opened so 
that the ancient Bible — written on scrolls of 
parchment, covered with old and precious brocades, 
and crowned by tinkling silver turrets — could 
be taken out, my imagination flew in a dream 
of oriental splendor and I could almost see the 
ancient temple, destroyed long ago in Jerusalem. 
As for the religious services — they seemed long 
and I didn't pay too much attention to the rabbi's 
scholarly sermons. Anyhow, for me, the temple in 
Florence remained tied to "traditions" — to 
memories of my family, to father and to mother. 

When I arrived in America, I found a completely 
different situation — no longer the small, contained 
community; no longer the single temple. Here 
in Los Angeles, for example, where the Jewish 
population is equal in numbers to the entire 
population of Florence, there is an abundance 
of congregations scattered over the vast area 
of the city. These are congregations, often 
rivals amongst themselves and of different rites, 
whose synagogues serve not only as places of 
prayer, but also as centers of various activ- 
ities (both functions useful and necessary) , 
and, above all, places for meetings — recrea- 
tional circles where lectures, concerts, dances, 
and weddings take place. I am not debating 


the usefulness of these latter functions; but 
they seem completely extraneous to me. While 
I always felt a deep sense of fellowship with 
the Jewish people in general, frankly I wasn't 
interested in the secondary activities of these 
neighborhood groups. The synagogues themselves, 
as places of prayer, seemed so little inspiring 
to me. They were either as cold and austere 
as classrooms, or they were as pretentious and 
ostentatious as the movie theaters in Holly- 
wood. In order to pray, I preferred to go 
alone to the shore of the Pacific or to the 
top of a hill. For this reason, although 
invited many times, I never wanted to join any 
of these congregations (and one was just a few 
steps from my home, at the end of the street). 
Above all, the local synagogues did not have 
the inner meaning, familiar and traditional, 
of the temple in my native Florence. 

In spite of this, my rapport with synagogues has 
always been excellent. I often had friendly 
relations with rabbis, cantors, and organists. 
And being invited by them as representative — 
among the more notable — of Jewish musicians (and 
in America, really, there are legions of Jewish 
musicians — composers and interpreters) , I often 
wrote some pieces of music for one congregation 
or another. 

Before discussing these works, however, I want 
to turn for a moment to the first of my syna- 
gogue compositions, the Amsterdam Lecha Dodi , 
written several years earlier, in 1936. I call 
it the "Amsterdam Lecha Dodi" in order to dis- 
tinguish it from another Lecha Dodi in my 
Sacred Service , and because ir was written at 
the request of the synagogue in Amsterdam. Since 
the synagogue was orthodox, I had to observe 
rigid instructions, which caused various problems 
at the time. Because an organ was not permitted, 
the choir had to be unaccompanied; since women 
were not allowed to sing, only male voices could 
be used; and, finally, without repeating any of 
the words, each part of the choir had to sing all 
of the text. The text, from a distant age, is very 
beautiful. it describes, allegorically , the 
Sabbath (the day of rest dedicated to God) in 
nuptial terms — somewhat like the "mystical bride" 


of the Song of Songs. This was the first time 
that I had set a Hebrew text to music, and 
because I was a little uncertain about the ac- 
centuation of the words, my mother transcribed 
them for me with their proper accentuation. 
She also made a literal translation of the text 
for me. (I still preserve these pages written 
in her clear and harmonious calligraphy. The 
piece, naturally, is dedicated to her.) But 
then the composition had a strange adventure, 
which is worth relating. 

At that time, I made very few manuscript copies 
of my works, which generally were soon published. 
In the case of Lecha Dodi , I made only two 
manuscript copies. I sent one to Amsterdam, 
where it was performed; the other I sent to 
Vienna, where it was to be published by 
Yibneh. Yibneh was an affiliate, for Jewish 
music, of Universal Edition. In the following 
years, which were extremely difficult and 
turbulent, I no longer thought about the piece. 
When I arrived in America (where I brought all 
of my manuscripts and copies of all my published 
works), I realized that I didn't have a single 
copy of Lecha Dodi! in the meantime the 
Nazis had enslaved Austria, invaded Holland burn- 
ing and destroying everything that bespoke "Jew- 
ishness." I thought, then, that the piece was 
irretrievably lost; and frankly, I was sorry. 
I felt, as I still do, that it was the best of 
my synagogue compositions. 

Then, at the beginning of 1942, I received an 
unexpected letter from New York. It was from 
a certain Mr. Dimitrovsky who had been an employee 
of Universal Edition and who, after many adven- 
tures, had himself arrived in America. This good 
and charitable soul had carried my manuscript 
with him from Vienna in order to return it to 
me. Thus, against all hope, the "Lecha Dodi" 
was recovered. Soon after, through the initia- 
tive of Cantor David Putterman, it was performed 
at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. This 
time, however, it was in a new version. Park 
Avenue Synagogue being of the reform rite wanted 
the work for a mixed chorus with organ accompani- 
ment. It is this version, which is not the best 
of the two, that was later published by Schirmer. 


Finally let me bring the story to an end. Sev- 
eral years afterwards, the University of Jeru- 
salem requested one of my manuscripts for its 
collection of autographs. I sent them the 
original manuscript of Lecha Dodi (the one 
which was lost and found again) hoping that 
in the Holy Land it might at last find peace. 

Let us now turn to more recent works. Without 
doubt, the most important of these is the 
Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve , written in 
19 4 3 at the request of Rabbi Emanuel of the 
nearby Westwood Synagogue. Rabbi Emanuel was 
tall, elegant, and eloquent; and, as American 
rabbis often have, he had a rather worldly 
appearance. (Unfortunately, the poor man died 
a few years afterwards in a highway accident.) 
I don't know if the rabbi's eloquence could have 
convinced me to write such a work if I had not 
already had the desire to dedicate a composi- 
tion to the memory of my mother (almost as 
a requiem for her) . The Service is therefore 
dedicated "to the memory of my mother and all 
my dear, departed ones." I thought of grand- 
father Senigaglia, of uncles. It must be 
remembered that this occurred in 1943, and, not 
having received any news from Italy at the time, 
I didn't know how many members of my family 
would be missing. Thus, I felt filled with 

But, once again I encountered some difficutly. 
Because the work was intended for a reform 
synagogue, it had to be written for organ, 
mixed chorus, and cantorial soloist — a baritone, 
in this case; for other synagogues, afterwards, 
a tenor. (I never liked the organ very much; 
in my mind, I associate it more with Catholic 
and Protestant rites than I do with Jewish 
rites.) In addition, in the reform rite, the 
text is partly in Hebrew and partly in English 
(probably for practical reasons of intelligi- 
bility, but, nevertheless, creating a hybrid 
element that I don't like). For example, in 
the two most important portions, the Shema 
Yisrael and the Barechu , the cantor and 
choir sing only the first verses in Hebrew; the 
remainder of this most beautiful text is 
recited in English by the rabbi, generally 
without musical accompaniment. I attempted 


to avoid this imbalance through the technique of 
"melologue. " The recitative is accompanied with 
a soft, organ exposition in which themes from 
the preceding choral portions are developed. 
(From past experience, I realized the difficulty 
of "synchronizing" the recitation to the music.) 
Another piece, "May the Words," is totally in 
English; and two others, the Silent Devotion 
and the Kaddish (the former, a kind of inter- 
mezzo; the latter, the prayer for the dead) , 
are for organ alone. At any rate, I tried to 
remedy these dissimilarites through a unity of 

But it was precisely the question of style that 
presented another problem. It is difficult now 
to know, and even to imagine, what the early 
Jewish liturgy might have been (except, per- 
haps, for the few remaining traces of it in 
Gregorian chant, and through the source of so- 
called "cantillation"--which is more authentic 
but of whose interpretation we are uncertain) . 
The liturgy had constantly adapted itself to the 
times and customs of the countries where the 
Jews had successively taken residence. Certain- 
ly, there was no organ, and the chorus was not 
polyphonic. If the liturgy were sung, it was 
probably done so monodically — or, perhaps, almost 
in a spoken manner. 

Since I was born in Italy, I decided to follow 
the Italian polyphonic tradition. Because I 
remembered a humorous thing that Pizzetti 
once said to me with reference to some choruses 
I wrote in school, "you pretend to be a Jewish 
Monteverdi," and because the choral education 
that I received from Pizzetti was more "Monte- 
verdian" than "Palestrinian, " I decided precisely 
to be the "Jewish Monteverdi" — but, this time, 
intentionally. If one considers that the 
earliest examples of an Italian-Jewish liturgy 
date back exactly to the Mantuan Salomone Rossi, 
1587-1628 (who was not only a contemporary of 
Monteverdi, but also a friend and disciple), 
one understands that, historically speaking, 
this was not an absurd plan. (The few pieces 
by Rossi that I know are very lovely) . 

Having solved the problem of style (almost in- 
stinctively) , I completed the work rapidly — 


between December 1 and December 30, 194 3. In 
its original version, there are thirteen sec- 
tions. Yet, in a way, the composition was 
never finished. While some of the pieces are 
mandatory, others are optional (according to 
the diversity of rites, the various times of 
the year, and the tastes of the officiants). 
Therefore, I felt inclined to set different 
texts for subsequent performances. Finally, 
in 1950, I decided to write an Addenda to the 
Sacred Service . This work contains four new 
pieces — among them, a new Lecha Dodi which, 
unlike my Amsterdam Lecha Dodi, follows 
the reform rite and has but three verses. 

The first performance of the Sacred Service did 
not take place at the Westwood Synagogue. This 
was so for two reasons. First, they couldn't 
financially afford to use the large choir needed 
for the work; and, second, as I stated earlier, 
Rabbi Emanuel had died. Instead, it was per- 
formed (as was the Lecha Dodi ) at the hospita- 
ble Park Avenue Synagogue. Since then, the 
Service has been performed in several American 
cities. Unfortunately, it has never been performed 
in its entirety in Los Angeles. I believe that 
despite some unevenness , the Service is one of the 
most pure and inspired of my compositions. To- 
gether with the Birthday of the Infanta (even 
though in a different direction) it is also one of 
the works in which I began to find myself again. 
When the Service was performed in New York, some 
critics reproached me for having been too sweet 
and idyllic. I think that may have been due to 
the feelings that had inspired the work. Those 
feelings were neither dramatic nor mystical, 
but were, instead, quiet and serene--like my 
mother's smile. I wish that I were able to hear 
it once in the temple of Florence where my dear 
ones attended services. For that, I would be 
willing to modify it further. 

The other works written for the synagogue are 
of lesser importance. One is a setting of 
Kol Nidre , the prayer that opens the expiatory 
service on the day of Kippur . This piece is 
little more than a broad paraphrase of a tradi- 
tional theme of Ashkenazic origin. Several com- 
posers have written settings of this theme--from 
Max Bruch in the nineteenth century to Arnold 


Schoenberg in the twentieth century. My adapta- 
tion (which I never published) is for cantor, 
choir, organ, and violoncello. It was written 
in 19 44 for Rabbi Emanuel and the Westwood Syn- 
agogue, where there was an excellent 'cellist 
in the person of William Vandenburg. 

A group of Songs and Processionals for a Jewish 
Wedding was commissioned by the Cantors Assembly 
of America. These excellent cantors were dis- 
turbed by the fact that the wedding marches of 
Mendelssohn and Wagner were used in Jewish wed- 
ding ceremonies. In reality, Mendelssohn was a 
baptized Jew and Wagner was certainly an anti- 
Semite. At any rate, because those two pieces 
are so well known and so lovely, I didn't delude 
myself into thinking I could replace them. 
However, in order to please these good men, I 
agreed to write four pieces on texts assigned to 
me from Hosea and the Song of Songs. 

The work is comprised of two processionals (one 
each for the entrance and the recession of the 
nuptial court) and two songs (one each for the 
bride and the bridegroom) . In actuality, I 
wrote six pieces. I had been asked to set the 
songs to double texts, Hebrew and English. How- 
ever, after having initially set them in Hebrew, 
I realized that the English translations weren't 
readily adaptable to the vocal lines. So, I then 
wrote another, totally different, version of each 

The last of my synagogue compositions was a 
Naaritz'cha , a Kedusha , requested by Gershon 
Ephros in 1952 for the fourth volume of his 
Cantorial Anthology . That the volume also 
included a setting of the same text by Salomone 
Rossi intrigued me, and I thought: "The first 
--and, perhaps, the last — of the Jewish-Ital- 
ian composers." 

Since then, I haven't written any other music 
for the synagogue. I don't consider my two 
cantatas, Naomi and Ruth and the Queen of Sheba , 
to be "liturgical music." These compositions 
were performed for the first time in Holly- 
wood's most elegant synagogues: Naomi and Ruth 
at Temple Israel, the Queen of Sheba at Beth- 
El Temple. The latter performance took place 


at the initiative of the University of Jerusalem, 
which also gave me an honorary degree on that 
occasion. These two cantatas are the first 
of my 3iblical choral works (a genre to which 
I intensely dedicated myself) and are remote 
from the liturgy, which creates many difficul- 
ties for me. 

I don't believe, now, that I will write any 
more synagogue music. (I wish, first of all, 
that my dear coreligionists would finally 
reach an agreement and unify their "rites," 
so as not to present so many problems to com- 
posers!) If I would write synagogue music 
again (and I have thought of writing a second 
Sacred Service — this time, for myself) , I would 
write it in a completely "nontraditional" style, 
or perhaps — more authentically traditional. 
It would have a choir that spoke and sang 
monodically and would be accompanied, not by 
an organ, but by all the instruments (or 
their modern equivalents) named in the Bible. 
Look at Psalm 150: "Praise God with trumpet, 
flute, harp, drums, and ringing cymbals! This 
group would be a kind of "jazz-band," as the 
Levites' orchestra probably was. Certainly no 
synagogue in America, or, perhaps, even in the 
entire world, would consent to perform it. 

CASTELNUOVO: At that time it was even more inspiring, 
more beautiful. Modern life spoils things, even in 
Italy. But the beauty of Italy is still unbelievable, 
no doubt, because the history of the great arts, of 
the great music, everything comes from there, no doubt. 
And the beauty of the country — You should go and see. 
Mario felt like — Only he had the possibility to express 
it in music. I was reading things that helped me to 
realize, but he was expressing in his own music, creating 
the beauty which he felt coming. His technique was also 


very good. He had the means to express. 

Each place — When he was very young they used to 
be during the springtime, summertime, by the sea in 
a certain place. Then we moved to another [place]. 
By the way, this country house belonged to my father. 
Then after we married, Mario used to stay there during 
the summertime until we left. And I'll show you [a 
photograph] . [tape recorder turned off] 

This piece of the Cipressi , piano piece which is very 
well known--he played and everybody played it. Look, the 
cipressi are here. You see, this is the villa, between 
Florence in Tuscany and the sea by Livorno, very close--now 
a half hour, an hour driving. You see the cipressi , cypres- 
ses. It's a long alley, you know. And when we met, we 
met here, because Mario was just coming visiting us. This 
is the villa, the big villa and a back garden. Can you 
see how beautiful it is? And here was a hill with some old 
pine trees--Fraschella it's called. Fraschella means young 
trees . 

ANDRADE : That's what he was writing about? 

Modern life spoils, of course, you know. For instance, 
there were no cars. The cars have been terrible, because 
everything is full of cars, and the noise. At that time 
there were little trains and horses and chariots, little — 
how do you call?-- carrozze . 


ANDRADE: Carriages? 

CASTELNUOVO: With a horse or two horses, and that's the 
only way. And bicycle, little bicycle. I was a very 
young girl — ten, twelve — and I had an uncle, a brother of 
my father, who used to take us, several children — his 
children and us — and go from one city to the other by 
bicycle, maybe stay there two, three days. You could go, 
but no cars. Cars have been spoiling everything. I 
mean, it makes so much dirt and noise and traffic. I 
mean, they have spoiled the ways, the cars — that's completely, 
ANDRADE: You were saying Mario's music was so intercon- 
nected with places in Italy. What happened when he came 
to the States? Did his music change? 

CASTELNUOVO: The music didn't change. The music kept the 
country, I would say, the meaning and the memory of the 
places. Nothing was even nicer. The memory is there. 
ANDRADE: You were in the States for how many years before 
you visited Italy? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, I remember — everything is written in the 
biography — we couldn't go too soon. By the way, after a few 
years, when the war finished, we couldn't go right away. 
After a few years, when the war was over, we had some work 
here to become citizens. We had some difficulties, which 
was strange, because Mario, when the war was over, had 
many invitations from Italy to go back. They offered him 


to teach at this conservatory and that conservatory; so 
there was much correspondence. And that correspondence 
at that time was seen, followed by the--how can I say? 
— by the police--no, not police — by the Americans. You 
know, the letters were still checked. Our correspondence 
was quite nice, but things were offered. But Mario had 
started here so much work and teaching; and so we didn't 
feel like going back like that immediately, because our 
life in Italy had changed completely. So we felt like 
staying a little longer and seeing. Mario had much to do 

So at that time, we had some discussion about our 
citizenship. I remember once we had--how can I say?--here 
in Los Angeles a section where we were supposed to discuss 
our papers for citizenship. Mario was asked what he intended 
to do, you know, very kindly. Then I was asked, "What will 
you do if your husband will go back to Italy? What will 
you do?" 

And I said, "I wouldn't do anything different. We 
will discuss what is the best thing for the family — not for 
one or the other — for the family to stay or to go back, and 
I would do what he will do. We will decide together and do 
together. " 

And then the judge said, "OK, let her stay here." 


Then we had the papers of citizenship, and we're still 

here. And we became American citizens. There was no 

difficulty at all. I answered what was true. My children 

were in school. They were young then. Then Pietro-- 

Lorenzo was young, of course--Pietro was called into the 

Army- -I don't know exactly what--and he was for some time 

in Alaska. There is a picture of him dressed like — I 

will show it to you. 

ANDRADE : Show me later. 

CASTELNUOVO: He had been in the army for one year or two. 

Lorenzo, no never did it. 

ANDRADE: What did you and Mario think about becoming 

American citizens? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, it was natural. I mean, America had 

accepted us, very friendly, and we were friendly with 

everybody. We admired the country, no doubt, without any 

exceptions. Each country has its own-- We loved in all 

respects the country, and we were happy to stay. And we 

were free to go to Italy. As a matter of fact, we used 

to go every other year and during the summer very often. 

We had some trips through Spain. But then we came here. 

This was during the summer, during the vacation, I would 

say. But then we came here when school started, when work 


ANDRADE: What was Italy like after the war, when you first 



CASTELNUOVO: Well, much had been spoiled and changed and 
needed money and needed to be — But this is politics. We 
couldn't do anything. They had great difficulties. This 
is history. 

ANDRADE: How did the changes affect Mario? 

CASTELNUOVO: Well, he was very sorry, of course, when sad 
things happened, when difficulties of the politics happened, 
but there was nothing we could do. But he was very fond of 
Italy all the time. Nothing changed. We were sorry when 
sad things happened, this is no doubt. We felt it very 
much. I still do. When I see news from Italy, it's the 
first thing I read. I don't care so much for France as 
much I feel for Italy, no doubt. It's still our country. 
We still have many of the family — sisters, I mean, descen- 
dants from the sisters and brothers, nephews and things like 
that- -we still have in Florence and in Rome, because my 
older sister lived in Rome. So some children of hers are 
still in Rome . 

ANDRADE: Is Mario's music still being played in Italy today? 
CASTELNUOVO: Some, yes. There isn't much going on now, 
but still, no doubt, played. Not less than in other 
countries. Now it is not performed as much as it used to 
be at that time, because things change. Then the tragic 
thing is that editors, publishers — you know what they do-- 
they let the music sleep there, or they give it to somebody 


else. So it's not cared [for] the way it should be, music, 

after some years of some publishing, because publishers 

change. That's what happened all over. 

ANDRADE : What is the International Castelnuovo-Tedesco 


CASTELNUOVO: This Dr. Nick Rossi, who knew Mario, was 

here in some music department teaching in some public 

school in Los Angeles. He met Mario — I don't know how — 

he studied also with him. He met him here, and they became 

friends. Then he [organized] this Castelnuovo-Tedesco 

Society. But, now, he wrote me some months ago. He did 

this big work of the catalog, which has been and is still 

very useful, no doubt, because people go there and look 

and they find almost everything. There are very few mistakes. 

Everything is cataloged: what has been written, what has 

been published, not published, what you can find. As a 

matter of fact, people write to me that they looked in the 

catalog — they found this and that — if I can send music. 

That's what I'm doing all the time. I'm sending music from 

my files to the people who look for that and can't find it 

from publishers. Now this [Rossi is at the] university in 

New York, La Guardia [Community College] in New York. He used 

to make concerts, perform Mario's music, and publish also, 


ANDRADE: So the society tried to give performances of the 



CASTELNUCVO: Yes, the society had all the members. 

Members of the society received letters about what 

was going on, what had happened during that year. 

ANDRADE : Do you know how many members there are in the 


CASTELNUOVO: No, I don't know. 

ANDRADE: But it's all over the country or all over the 


CASTELNUOVO: All over the country and other countries, 

international. You can write to him if you want. He will 

answer that. 

ANDRADE: I think [the address] is in the catalog. 

CASTELNUOVO: No, it has changed. I'll give you his last 

address . 

ANDRADE: I think I'd like to write him. 

CASTELNUOVO: It has changed. He has moved. He's still in 

New York, not far. I'll give you the address. Or you can 

write at the university. 

ANDRADE: Last November, you went to Nashville, Tennessee, 

and one of your husband's works was being played. 

CASTELNUOVO: It was the Concerto for Guitar. 

ANDRADE: How often is that played here in the United States? 

CASTELNUOVO: Pretty often. It was performed here also 


ANDRADE: At the Ambassador Auditorium. 


CASTELNUOVO: Were you there? 

ANDRADE: In February? 



CASTELNUOVO: Not long ago, somebody wrote me they would 

like to have a concert somewhere here in California. 

ANDRADE: Do they ask you for permission each time? 

CASTELNUOVO: No, no, because it's published. 

ANDRADE: They invite you. 

CASTELNUOVO: Just to let me know if I can go. 

ANDRADE: How do you like the performances of your husband's 


CASTELNUOVO: Some are better; sometimes not everything is 

perfect. I try to encourage, to keep alive [the music]. I 

always try to do that. 

ANDRADE: Is Leon Levitch helping you with your correspondence' 

CASTELNUOVO: He wanted to. He was a very affectionate 

pupil and admiring. He means good. He's very gifted, very. 

He knows much. But he is very busy. 

ANDRADE: What other kinds of correspondence do you get? 

You say people write to you often about your husband's works. 

Is it to get copies of works that were not published? 

CASTELNUOVO: Yes. I just sent to San Francisco yesterday 

a big envelope. [tape recorder turned off] 

ANDRADE: So most of the requests are from music students? 


CASTELNUOVO: Young people who want to perform and like 
it, who have heard something and like it and want to 
perform. Then they write to me to have this and that; 
so I had all copies made. If I have original manuscripts 
of some old copies, I keep them. I always make new 
copies to send away. I don't give away any [manuscripts]. 
ANDRADE: Do you refuse to give copies to anybody, or do 
you give copies to anyone who asks? Do you say yes to every- 

CASTELNUOVO: I try to, but when I think somebody is really 
interested, if they take the trouble to write to me about 
this and that, it means that they are interested in 
performing and like the music, and then I say yes. When 
you like music and you take the trouble to write, it means 
that they feel it. That's what I do. 

ANDRADE: One last question: Before we started taping this 
morning, you were telling me about "Fuori i Barbari , " the 
political song. Did Mario write other political songs? 
CASTELNUOVO: No. It was the people who were fighting in 
the streets. His brother wrote [the lyrics to] this little 
music, and it was sung in the streets, around the city. 
All our friends felt politically in a certain direction; 
nobody was Mussolini's follower, nobody. 

ANDRADE: So that was the only political song he wrote? 
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. This was very popular in the city. 


ANDRADE: And his brother wrote the words? 

CASTELNUOVO: His brother wrote the words, yes. He was 

the older son, very fine. He was a great lawyer in 

Italy. His last years he was head of the — I don't know 

exactly where — in Italy, like supreme court, something 

like that in Italy. 

ANDRADE: This is Guido or Ugo? 

CASTELNUOVO: Ugo. Ugo was the oldest. He was a very 

intelligent and very wonderful person, and very cultured 

His last years in Italy he was something like a supreme 

court [justice] . 

ANDRADE: Mrs. Castelnuovo-Tedesco , thank you very much. 

CASTELNUOVO: OK, I try to do my best. 

ANDRADE: Thank you very much. 



And Then There Were 

None , 74 
Antico Fattore, Florence, 


Barbirolli, John, 71 
Beethoven, Ludwig, van, 

Berenson, Bernard, 

Berman, Eugene, 38 
Beth-El Temple, 97-98 
Bloch, Ernst, 29 
Bruch , Max, 9 6 
Bruzzichelli , Aldo, 


Camici nere (Blackshirts) , 

Cantors Assembly of 

America, 9 7 
Carnegie Hall, New York, 


Amedeo (father- 
in-law) , 9, 20 , 22, 
24-26, 42-43, 46, 
56, 65, 83 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco , 

Guido (brother- 
in-law) , 16 , 23 , 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco , 
Lorenzo (son) , 
21, 24, 67, 73, 
-childhood and edu- 
cation, 42-47, 54, 57, 
63, 72 
-emigration from Italy, 
58, 60-61 
Cas te lnuovo-Tedes co , 
-autobiography ( Una 
Vita de Musica ) , 21, 
25, 27-30, 35-36, 39, 
60, 90-98 

•childhood, 16-17 
■composer, 39-43, 48, 
55, 75, 79, 88, 90- 

- Addenda to the Sacred 

Service , 96 
-"Amsterdam Lech a 
Dodi ," 92-94, 96 
- Birthday of the 

Infanta , 96 
- Cipressi , 9 9 
-Concerto for Guitar, 

10 5 
-Concerto for Piano and 

Orchestra, 71 
-Concerto no. 1 in 

D Major, 55 
-"Fuori i Barbari , " 

35-36, 107 
- Kol Nidre , 96 
- Naaritz ' cha , 9 7 
- Naomi and Ruth , 9 7 
- Queen of Sheba , 9 7 
- Sacred Service for 
the Sabbath Eve , 92, 
-Second Concerto for 
Violin and Orchestra, 
-Second Piano Concerto, 

- Songs and Processionals 
for a Jewish Wedding , 
-concertizing, 54, 61, 
68, 71 

-courtship and marriage, 
14-16, 28-29 
-emigration from Italy, 
39-40, 51-55, 58-61, 
64, 65, 68, 71, 93 
-family (of origin) , 8-9 
-father, 44-45 
-Jew, 46 

-Jewish liturgical music, 


-last name, derivation 

of, 20-22 
-manuscripts, 26, 104, 

-member, Florentine art 

community, 31-32, 34 
-motion picture scores, 

-move to Los Angeles, 

38, 61-63, 68, 72 
-music for guitar, 80-81, 

-music for voice, 13, 29, 

35, 81, 88-89, 92-98 
-musical education, 

-musical influences, 

-overtures, 88 
-performances of his 
music, 37-38, 54-55, 
70-71, 80-81, 88-89, 
103, 105-107 
-pianist, 37 
-published scores, 64, 

88, 93, 103-104 
-return to Italy, 100-102 
-teacher, 41, 74-78 
-U.S. citizenship, 101- 
10 2 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Noemi 
(mother-in-law) , 
9, 22-26, 42-43, 
46, 56, 65, 83, 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Pietro 
(son) , 67, 72, 102 
-childhood and education, 

42-48, 54, 57, 63 
-emigration form Italy, 
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ugo 
(brother-in-law) , 
16, 22-23, 55, 83, 
Colaicchi, Giovanni, 32 
Collegio Cicognini, Prato, 

Columbia Pictures, 73 
Consolo, Ernesto, 34 

Corcos , 

, 19 

D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 

17-18, 34-36, 49 

Debussy, Claude, 12, 30, 
82, 87 

Dimitrovsky, / 9 3 

, 94, 


Ephros, Gershon, 97 

- Cantorial Anthology , 9 7 
Escovado, Robin, 75-76 

Florence, Italy, 5-6, 16, 
19, 25-30, 40-42, 
-art community, 31-34, 

41, 69 
-fascism, rise of, 50-60 

-Jewish community, 9-10 
Forti, Aldo (brother), 

4, 12, 15, 58-59 
Forti, Alfredo (father), 
1-3, 6, 9-12, 15, 
42, 46, 58-59 
Forti, Giorgio (brother) , 

4, 12, 58-59 
Forti, Giulio (uncle), 

1, 12 
Forti, Nella (sister), 4, 

Forti, Piera (sister), 
4-5, 53, 58-59 

Giulini, Carl Maria, 79 
Goldsmith, Jerry, 75 
Grey, Madeleine, 18, 35 

Heifetz, Jascha, 29, 38-39, 
52, 60-61, 68, 71-72 

Hitler, Adolph, 22, 50-61 
passim, 64, 69, 83 

International Castelnuovo- 
Tedesco Society, 

Jones, Edward, 71 


Journal of Synagogue 

Music , 90 
Joyce, James, 31 

Keats, John, 90 

Lawrence, D. H., 31 

Levitch, Leon 75-76, 78- 
79, 106 

Liuzzi, Fernando (brother- 
in-law) , 3-4, 12, 
15-16, 28-30 

Liuzzi, Paola Forti (sister) 
3-4, 12 

Loria, Arturo, 32 

Los Angeles 

-Jewish community, 

-music community, 79 

Los Angeles Conservatory 
of Music, 76 

Loves of Carmen , 7 4 

Mancini, Henry, 75-76 
Mendelssohn, Felix, 97 
Menuhin, Yalta, 77 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) , 

40, 63, 72-74 
Michigan State University, 


Modena, , 12-13 

Monteverdi, Claudio, 95 
Mozart, Wolfgang, 82, 86 
Mussolini, Benito, 22, 

49-52, 54, 62, 64, 

69, 83, 107 

New York 

-art and music commu- 
nities, 69-70 

Ojetti, Ugo, 33-34 

Park Avenue Synagogue, 

New York City, 

93, 96 
Passigli, Alberto, 33-34 
Piatigorsky, Gregor, 39, 


Pizzetti, Ildebrando, 

26-28, 86, 95 
Polk, Rudy, 7 2 
Poulenc, Francis, 37 
Prato, Italy, 1-2, 5-7, 

9-10, 17 
Previn, Andre, 75-76, 78 
Putterman, David, 9 3 

Rome-Berlin Axis, 51-52, 

Rosselli, Amelia, 22, 62 
Rosselli family, 22, 56, 

62, 68 
Rossi, Nick, 104-105 
Rossi, Salomone, 95-96, 97 

Saturnia (ship) , 53, 58, 

Scalin, Burton H., 90 
Schirmer (music publisher) , 

Schoenberg, Arnold, 

Schubert, Franz, 82, 86-87 
Schumann, Robert, 82, 86 
Segovia, Andres, 39, 81 
Shakespeare, William, 88-90 
Spalding, Albert, 71 
Stein, Herman, 76, 78 
Stravinsky, Igor, 23, 

36-38, 87 
- Noces , Les , 23, 37 
Stravinsky, Vera, 23 
Strozzi, Memmi Corcos , 


-as refuge for Jews, 
51, 53, 55, 59-60, 62, 
69, 83 

Tedesco, Samuele, 20-21 
Temple Israel, 9 7 
Ten Little Indians , 74 
Toch, Ernst, 23-24 
Toscanini, Arturo, 38-39, 

52, 60-61, 68-69, 88 



-as refuge for Jews, 
38, 51-53, 61, 63-68, 
Universal Edition (music 

publisher) , Vienna, 
Universal Pictures, 73 
University of Jerusalem, 
94, 98 

Vandelli, , 14 

Vandenburg, William, 97 
Vivanti, Giuseppina 

(mother) , 1, 3, 15 

Wagner, Richard, 97 
Westwood Synagogue, 94, 

Williams, John, 75 
World War I, 5-18 passim, 

28, 34-36 
World War II, 51-52, 60, 



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